SnapShots: Article: Prevalence and burden of HCV co-infection in people living with
HIV: a global systematic review and meta-analysis—L Platt et al.
Source: The Lancet Infectious Diseases, doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(15)00485-5,
published online 24 February 2016
Study Aim and Results
The aim of the study was to estimate the worldwide prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C coinfection. The World Health Organization estimates that the worldwide prevalence of HIV is 37 million and HCV is 115 million. The current study was commissioned by the World Health Organization.
The authors conducted a meta-analysis (combining various studies) that included (and excluded) prevalence data of HIV and hepatitis C coinfection. The studies had to be conducted between January 1, 2002, and January 28, 2015. The authors found 783 studies that met their inclusion criteria resulting in 902 estimates of the prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C coinfection.
Listed below are their estimates of worldwide rates of HIV and hepatitis C coinfection:
- 2,278,400 (1,271,300-4,417,000) people worldwide are coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C.
- The majority were among people who inject drugs – 1,362,700 (847,700-1,381,800)
- Coinfection in people with HIV – 2.4% (range 0.8 – 5.8%)
- In people who inject drugs- 82.4% (55.2 -88.5%)
- Men who have sex with men – 6.4% (3.2 – 10%)
- Pregnant or heterosexually exposed samples- 4% (1.2 –8.4%)
The odds of having HCV infection were six times higher in people who were HIV positive than in people who were HIV negative. The higher prevalence rates of HIV and hepatitis C coinfection were found in countries of Eastern Europe where there are high rates of injection drug use and sub-Sahara where there is a high rate of HIV.
This study was a big undertaking. I am not sure anyone truly understands the true magnitude of hepatitis C worldwide. Many countries especially resource-poor countries have little to no HCV testing services. Even in the United States the true number of acute and chronic hepatitis C is believed to vastly under-reported.
Still, it is important to come up with a starting number to establish a baseline. This report should also prompt countries to establish programs to provide more testing and support services for people with hepatitis C and programs for HIV if not already in place.