Does geographic access to primary healthcare influence the detection of hepatitis C?
AbstractRecent work in France has suggested that poor geographic access to primary healthcare may have a negative influence upon detection rates of the hepatitis C virus. Topography and poor infrastructure can exacerbate geographic remoteness, while the stigma surrounding hepatitis C and intravenous drug use may also discourage healthcare-seeking behaviour in rural communities with limited choice of general practitioner. No similar study has been conducted in the UK, where detection rates of hepatitis C are also low. Moreover, the previous French findings did not adjust for the uneven spatial distribution of HCV prevalence and associated risk factors, which raises the possibility that the reported travel-time associations were a reflection of greater hepatitis C prevalence in urban areas (where the travel-times to primary healthcare are short) and not an effect of geographic access to primary healthcare. Using geographic information systems, Poisson regression and a dataset from Tayside (Scotland), we explored whether lower rates of hepatitis C detection were associated with higher travel-times to primary healthcare. We tested whether any travel-time effects remained once the models were adjusted for deprivation, by controlling for the spatial variation of some of the known risk factors of hepatitis CÂ infection. Separate models were calculated according to patient history of opiate substitution therapy to take account of people likely to have been infected through intravenous drug use. Rates of detected hepatitis C were highest among males aged between 25 and 39 years. A statistically significant travel-time-decay effect was observed, though with notable attenuation for all patients after adjusting for deprivation. Further modelling identified a travel-time effect only for those who had received opiate substitution therapy. The absence of a similar effect in the non-opiate substitution therapy group indicates that selection effects, not causation, are the most likely explanation for the initial travel-time-decay effects. Thus, future studies of hepatitis C detection and geographic access to primary healthcare will need to consider ways of controlling for the uneven spatial distribution of HCV prevalence and associated risk factors beyond ecological measures of socioeconomic deprivation.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.
Volume (Year): 72 (2011)
Issue (Month): 9 (May)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Astell-Burt, Thomas & Flowerdew, Robin & Boyle, Paul & Dillon, John, 2012. "Is travel-time to a specialist centre a risk factor for non-referral, non-attendance and loss to follow-up among patients with hepatitis C (HCV) infection?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 240-247.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wendy Shamier).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.