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What is required for achieving hepatitis C virus elimination in Singapore? A modeling study

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Background and aim

The vast majority of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Singapore is among those with a history of injecting drug use (IDU), yet harm reduction is not available and what is required to achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) HCV elimination targets (80% incidence reduction and 65% mortality reduction by 2030) is unknown. We model the intervention scale-up required to achieve WHO targets in Singapore.


A dynamic model of HCV transmission and progression among those with a history of IDU was calibrated to Singapore, a setting with declining IDU and no harm reduction (~11 000 people with IDU history in 2017 and 45% HCV seropositive). We projected HCV treatment scale-up from 2019 required to achieve WHO targets with varying prioritization scenarios, with/without opiate substitution therapy scale-up (to 40% among people who inject drugs [PWID]).


We estimated 3855 (95% confidence interval: 2635-5446) chronically HCV-infected individuals with a history of IDU and 148 (87-284) incident HCV cases in Singapore in 2019. Reaching the HCV incidence target requires 272 (187-384) treatments in 2019, totaling 2444 (1683-3452) across 2019-2030. By prioritizing PWID or PWID and cirrhotics, 60% or 30% fewer treatments are required, respectively, whereas the target cannot be achieved with cirrhosis prioritization. Opiate substitution therapy scale-up reduces treatments required by 21-24%. Achieving both WHO targets requires treating 631 (359-1047) in 2019, totaling 3816 (2664-5423) across 2019-2030.


Hepatitis C virus elimination is achievable in Singapore but even with declining IDU requires immediate treatment scale-up among PWID. Harm reduction provision reduces treatments required and provides additional benefits.

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