HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM) are apparently at risk for
sexual acquisition of hepatitis C virus (HCV), the National AIDS
Treatment Advocacy Project reports. Their risk factors are likely
similar to those of HIV-positive men, among whom there is an emerging
epidemic of sexually transmitted hep C.
Researchers at Chelsea
and Westminster Hospital in London conducted a retrospective study of
the clinic’s patients in which they identified 44 acute cases of hep C
among HIV-negative MSM between January 2010 and December 2013.
Thirty-four percent of the men spontaneously cleared the virus, 25
percent began treatment for hep C, 30 percent remained in care and 11
percent were lost to follow-up. Then men’s ages ranged between 24 and
75, and the groups had a median age of 37.
The researchers concluded that “acute hepatitis C is a problem for
HIV-negative MSM who have similar risks [to HIV-positive MSM]. HCV
testing must be considered as a crucial part of sexual health screening
in environments where risk factors or outbreaks of HCV exist.”