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BACKGROUND: Treatment for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) has rapidly evolved to simple, well-tolerated, all-oral regimens of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). There are few data on the epidemiology of HCV in American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), a population disproportionately affected by HCV.

METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, all HCV-infected AI/AN patients treated with DAA therapies between January 1, 2014, and February 24, 2016, in specialty clinics or by primary care clinicians participating in Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) were included. Demographic, clinical, and virologic data on all patients treated for HCV from pretreatment through sustained virologic response at 12 weeks (SVR12) were collected.

RESULTS: Two hundred eighty patients were included; 71.1% of patients (n = 199) were infected with genotype 1 (GT1), 18.2% (n = 51) with GT2, and 10.7% with (n = 30) GT3. At baseline, 26.1% (n = 73) patients had cirrhosis and 22.6% (n = 56) had active substance use disorder; eighty-eight percent (n = 232) of patients achieved SVR12. Among the 165 GT1 patients treated with sofosbuvir (SOF)/ledipasvir for 8, 12, and 24 weeks, SVR12 was achieved by 91.5% (n = 54), 92.2% (n = 71), and 100% (n = 13), respectively. Among GT2 patients, 87.2% (n = 34) and 71.4% (n = 5) treated with 12 and 16 weeks of SOF/ribavirin (RBV) achieved SVR12, respectively. Among GT3 patients, 100% (n = 2) and 83.3% (n = 20) treated with 12 and 24 weeks of SOF/RBV achieved SVR12, respectively. SVR12 rates remained high among patients with active substance use disorder.

CONCLUSIONS: DAA therapies are highly efficacious in HCV-infected AI/ANs. SVR12 rates remained high among patients with active substance use disorder. More steps must be taken to increase access to treatment for this underserved, vulnerable population.