Prevalence in HIV-negative men similar to the general population; HCV predominantly diagnosed in HIV-positive gay men
of HIV-negative gay men in London had antibodies to the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in 2008, results
of a community survey published in HIV
Medicine show. The study’s findings support those of clinic-based research
which found no evidence of an HCV epidemic among HIV-negative gay men.
However, 8% of
HIV-positive gay men had antibodies to HCV, further evidence of the ongoing
epidemic of the infection in this population. Prevalence of HCV was higher
among men reporting unprotected sex with a casual partner and in those with a
history of syphilis.
“We recommend directed education and prevention interventions to
HIV-positive MSM with HCV infection.”
There is a high
incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) reinfection among gay men living with HIV in London, results of
a study published in the online edition of AIDS
show. The research involved men with HIV and HCV co-infection, who
cleared their primary HCV
infection spontaneously or after treatment. Approximately a quarter of
study participants were subsequently reinfected with HCV, a small number
as many as three times. The results were also presented at the 7th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2013) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia today.
demonstrate a high risk of HCV re-infection among HIV-positive MSM [men who
have sex with men] who are either treated for or who spontaneously clear their
initial infection,” write the investigators. “These results emphasize the need
for effective sexual education for HIV-positive MSM presenting with primary HCV
infection and the implementation of preventative interventions to reduce the
risk of re-infection.”
Scientists are not certain about the cause(s) of this accelerated
liver damage. However, a team of researchers in New York City thinks
that they may have uncovered an important clue. The team has been
monitoring 15 HIV-positive men who subsequently became infected with
HCV. Four of these 15 men either refused treatment for HCV or did not
recover from this infection when given a combination of interferon and
ribavirin and have subsequently undergone long-term monitoring.
The livers of these four men sustained relatively rapid damage,
occurring between one and a half and six years after HCV co-infection.
Three of the men died within eight years after becoming infected with
HCV. Liver biopsy confirmed that fatal damage to that organ arose from
HCV and not from other causes. The U.S. team cautions that HIV-positive
people who later become co-infected with HCV are at risk for an
accelerated pace of liver damage perhaps caused by underlying