The change in the nationwide seroprevalence of hepatitis C virus and the status of linkage to care in South Korea from 2009 to 2015

The Korean hepatitis epidemiology study group

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) requires epidemiological monitoring to estimate its disease burden and to develop countermeasures. This study aimed to investigate the difference between the 2015 and 2009 nationwide anti-HCV seroprevalence and to determine linkage to care estimates in South Korea. Methods: A total 268,422 examinees ≥ 20 years old were included in 2015 from 33 medical institutions nationwide. Electronically extracted data were retrospectively analyzed to calculate the age-, sex-, and area-adjusted anti-HCV prevalence. Seroprevalence in 2015 was measured using the same method as that in 2009. For anti-HCV-positive subjects, medical records were reviewed to see whether HCV RNA testing or antiviral treatment was performed. Results: Adjusted anti-HCV prevalence was 0.60% (95% confidence interval, 0.57–0.63) based on general Korean population in 2015. It showed an increasing trend according to age; 0.23% in thirties, 0.38% in forties, 0.63% in fifties, 1.08% in sixties, and 1.65% in those aged ≥ 70 years. From 2009 to 2015, the adjusted anti-HCV prevalence decreased by 30%, with odds ratio of 0.70 (95% CI 0.70–0.71). There was significant intranational regional variation and changing pattern of seroprevalence. Among 1359 anti-HCV-positive subjects, HCV RNA test was performed in 60% and 25.4% had positivity. Treatment-initiated and cured rates in 2015 were 18.5% and 10.9%, respectively. Conclusions: Anti-HCV prevalence in South Korea was 0.6% in 2015, showing a 30% decrease from that in 2009. Although the HCV RNA testing rate was increased since 2009, this remains suboptimal. Moreover, the treatment uptake rate should be improved in South Korea.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)599-608
    Number of pages10
    JournalHepatology International
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sep 1


    • Anti-HCV
    • Antiviral treatment
    • Epidemiology
    • HCV RNA
    • Hepatitis C virus
    • Prevalence

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Hepatology


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