Acute hepatitis C in HIV-infected men who have sex with men in France in 2006 and 2007: HEPAIG study, behavioural results

Published: August 1, 2008

Acute hepatitis C in HIV-infected men who have sex with men in France in 2006 and 2007: HEPAIG study, behavioural results

Background: Recent European reports suggest that hepatitis C virus (HCV) may be sexually transmitted among HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM). A prospective study was conducted during 2006 and 2007 in France to assess the incidence of HCV among HIV-infected MSM and describe clinical, epidemiological and behavioural characteristics of this population. Preliminary behavioural results on descriptive analysis are presented here.

Methods: A random and proportional probability sample of 100 medical wards was designed according to the number of HIV and AIDS cases in MSM reported to the National HIV surveillance system. Acute HCV was defined by a positive anti-HCV antibody or HCV polymerase chain reaction within one year of a documented negative anti-HCV test. Two types of questionnaires were completed: one by physicians on clinical and biological status of acute HCV and HIV infections and one self-administered by patients on socio-demographic characteristics, sexual behaviours, HCV risk factors and exposures.

Results: Between 2006 and 2007, 45 of the 79 patients meeting the case definition of acute HCV completed the self-administered questionnaire. Respondents’ mean age was 40.8 years, 34% had a PhD, and 79% lived in an urban area. Median duration of HIV infection was 6 years [0-22]. In the 6-month period prior to HCV, none had reported intravenous drug use, the median number of sexual partners was 20 [0-170], 95% reported unprotected anal sex, 62% had had sexually transmitted infections and 47% bleeding during anal sex. Fisting with casual partners was frequent (67%). Recreational drug use before sex was mentioned by 56% of the respondents.

Conclusions: In France, HIV+ MSM with frequent unprotected anal sex together with STI and mucosal trauma may be at risk of sexual HCV transmission. Prevention strategies targeted to this specific population should be developed.

-Full abstract available at link below-

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