Acceptability of hepatitis C screening and treatment during pregnancy in pregnant women in Egypt, Pakistan, and Ukraine: A cross-sectional survey

Document Type



Gastroenterology; Obstetrics and Gynaecology


Chronic hepatitis C (HCV) in women of childbearing age is a major public health concern with ∼15 million women aged 15-49 years living with HCV globally in 2019. Evidence suggests HCV in pregnancy is associated with adverse pregnancy and infant outcomes. This includes ∼6% risk of infants acquiring HCV vertically, and this is the leading cause of HCV in children globally. However, few countries offer routine universal antenatal HCV screening, and direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) are not approved for pregnant or breastfeeding women although small clinical trials are ongoing. We conducted a survey of pregnant and postpartum women in 3 high HCV burden lower-middle-income countries to assess the acceptability of universal antenatal HCV screening and DAA treatment in the scenario that DAAs are approved for use in pregnancy. Pregnant and postpartum women attending antenatal clinics in Egypt, Pakistan, and Ukraine were invited to complete a survey and provide demographic and clinical data on their HCV status. Among the 630 women included (n=210 per country), 73% were pregnant and 27% postpartum, 27% were ever HCV antibody or PCR positive. Overall, 586 (93%) reported acceptability of universal antenatal HCV screening and 544 (88%) would take DAAs in pregnancy (92%, 98%, and 73% in Egypt, Pakistan, and Ukraine, respectively). Most said they would take DAAs in pregnancy to prevent vertical acquisition and other risks for the baby, and a smaller proportion would take DAAs for maternal cure. Our findings suggest that should DAAs be approved for use in pregnancy, the uptake of both HCV screening and DAA treatment may be high in women living in lower-middle-income countries.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Clinical Liver Disease