Current hepatitis C virus (HCV) counseling guidelines do not recommend that HCV-infected patients notify their partners or encourage them to get tested. We aimed to assess healthcare professionals' knowledge of and attitudes toward counseling and testing recommendations for HCV-infected patients.
A 15-question, anonymous survey was designed and distributed via e-mail to a convenience sample of healthcare professionals who work with Brown University– or Boston University–affiliated hospitals to assess their knowledge of and attitudes toward counseling recommendations for HCV-infected patients. The data were collected electronically and analyzed using descriptive statistical methods.
Of the 55 respondents (a 20% response rate), 73% incorrectly believed that at the time when the survey was completed, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HCV testing guidelines already recommended partners of HCV-infected patients be tested for HCV infection. Furthermore, 80% of respondents believed that recommendations should be revisited to explicitly include that HCV-infected patients encourage their partners to get tested. When counseling patients with HCV, 44% of respondents reported that they always ask whether the patient's partners have been tested for HCV and 42% reported that they sometimes do. Similarly, 42% reported that they always suggest that the HCV-infected patient's partners be tested for HCV.
Our survey shows that healthcare providers believe that HCV counseling and testing recommendations could be revisited, with specific attention given to the promotion of HCV testing for partners of HCV-infected patients.