Development of a risk score to guide targeted hepatitis C testing among human immunodeficiency virus patients in Cambodia

Anja De Weggheleire, Jozefien Buyze, Sokkab An, Sopheak Thai, Johan van Griensven, Sven Francque, Lutgarde Lynen

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BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization recommends testing all human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients for hepatitis C virus (HCV). In resource-constrained contexts with low-to-intermediate HCV prevalence among HIV patients, as in Cambodia, targeted testing is, in the short-term, potentially more feasible and cost-effective.

AIM: To develop a clinical prediction score (CPS) to risk-stratify HIV patients for HCV coinfection (HCV RNA detected), and derive a decision rule to guide prioritization of HCV testing in settings where 'testing all' is not feasible or unaffordable in the short term.

METHODS: We used data of a cross-sectional HCV diagnostic study in the HIV cohort of Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope in Phnom Penh. Key populations were very rare in this cohort. Score development relied on the Spiegelhalter and Knill-Jones method. Predictors with an adjusted likelihood ratio ≥ 1.5 or ≤ 0.67 were retained, transformed to natural logarithms, and rounded to integers as score items. CPS performance was evaluated by the area-under-the-ROC curve (AUROC) with 95% confidence intervals (CI), and diagnostic accuracy at the different cut-offs. For the decision rule, HCV coinfection probability ≥1% was agreed as test-threshold.

RESULTS: Among the 3045 enrolled HIV patients, 106 had an HCV coinfection. Of the 11 candidate predictors (from history-taking, laboratory testing), seven had an adjusted likelihood ratio ≥ 1.5 or ≤ 0.67: ≥ 50 years (+1 point), diabetes mellitus (+1), partner/household member with liver disease (+1), generalized pruritus (+1), platelets < 200 × 10 9/L (+1), aspartate transaminase (AST) < 30 IU/L (-1), AST-to-platelet ratio index (APRI) ≥ 0.45 (+1), and APRI < 0.45 (-1). The AUROC was 0.84 (95%CI: 0.80-0.89), indicating good discrimination of HCV/HIV coinfection and HIV mono-infection. The CPS result ≥0 best fits the test-threshold (negative predictive value: 99.2%, 95%CI: 98.8-99.6). Applying this threshold, 30% ( n = 926) would be tested. Sixteen coinfections (15%) would have been missed, none with advanced fibrosis.

CONCLUSION: The CPS performed well in the derivation cohort, and bears potential for other contexts of low-to-intermediate prevalence and little onward risk of transmission( i.e. cohorts without major risk factors as injecting drug use, men having sex with men), and where available resources do not allow to test all HIV patients as recommended by WHO. However, the score requires external validation in other patient cohorts before any wider use can be considered.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Journal of Hepatology
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1167-1180
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Hepatitis C/human immunodeficiency virus coinfection & nbsp;
  • Clinical prediction rule
  • Targeted screening
  • Cambodia
  • Development prediction model


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