Hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence among transgender and gender-diverse individuals ranges from 1.8% to 15.7% versus 1% in the general population. Previous HCV studies inclusive of transgender and gender-diverse individuals primarily rely on convenience-based sampling methods or are geographically restricted. The purpose of this study is to compare the prevalence of HCV diagnoses, testing, and care engagement between transgender and gender-diverse and cisgender individuals.
Using Optum's de-identified Clinformatics® Data Mart Database, in 2022, the unadjusted prevalence of HCV testing among all adults and people who inject drugs from January 2001 to December 2019 was measured. Multivariable logistic regression was used to compare the adjusted odds of HCV diagnoses and care engagement by gender subgroup.
The overall unadjusted frequency of HCV diagnoses among transgender and gender-diverse individuals was approximately 3 times that of cisgender individuals (1.06% vs 0.38%, p<0.001), including among people who inject drugs (6.36% vs 2.36%, p=0.007). Compared with cisgender women, transfeminine/nonbinary individuals had over 5 times the adjusted odds of a HCV diagnosis and approximately 3.5 times the odds of being tested for HCV. In addition, compared with cisgender women, transfeminine/nonbinary individuals had significantly increased odds of having a HCV‒related procedure (e.g., abdominal ultrasounds, liver biopsies, Fibroscans). Cisgender men had significantly increased odds of receiving HCV medication compared with cisgender women.
Although testing was higher among transgender and gender-diverse individuals, the higher overall frequency of HCV diagnoses among transgender and gender-diverse than among cisgender individuals signals persistent health disparities. Interventions are warranted to prevent HCV and increase ongoing testing and treatment uptake among transgender and gender-diverse populations.
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Published online: February 08, 2023
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