Survey of patients previously or currently infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) aiming to determine profile, opinions, co-morbidities and other factors that may facilitate further developing local strategy and tactics to reach the goal of World Health Organization - eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat by 2030. The written self-administered hepatitis C patients survey have been performed from January till July of 2020 by healthcare professionals in hospitals of Riga, Daugavpils, Liepaja and analysed by Marketing and Public Opinion Research Centre SKDS. The questionnaire included demographic information and 20 questions on personal experience, opinions and knowledge about HCV infection. Total number of respondents were 624 including 54.8% males and 44.2% females. Most patients were above 40 years old and 27% of respondents indicated having concomitant chronic illness. Only 6% of hepatitis C patients surveyed currently use or have used intravenous drugs in the past. The majority believe that untreated chronic hepatitis C progresses to cirrhosis (84%) and liver cancer (32%) although patients living in Riga are better informed comparing to those living in countryside. Most of surveyed patients (90%) are unaware of the symptoms of acute and chronic hepatitis C. The patient survey provides valuable data for adjusting hepatitis C elimination strategy in Latvia. The focus should move from classical risk groups such as intravenous drug users to groups suggested by the survey results. When planning targeted patient information campaigns and population screenings - target groups with potential to yield higher percentage of positive HCV antibody tests would probably be males with basic or secondary education performing manual work for example builders. Regular alcohol users and obese patients should be targeted not only due to higher probability of HCV infection but also due to risk of developing other chronic liver diseases.
- 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)