Transmission of hepatitis C virus among men who have sex with men has been occurring since early in the HIV epidemic, and the rates of infection are higher among those with HIV, according to data published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
“HCV transmission among MSM has been ongoing for at least 3 decades in both HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected men,” Chloe Thio, MD, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, told Infectious Disease News. “Recent reports of HCV in MSM suggest that this is an emerging problem, so it was unexpected to find that transmission has been occurring at relatively high rates for several decades.”
From 1984 to 2011, the researchers prospectively followed 5,310 MSM who were enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. The cohort included men with HIV and men at risk for HIV. All of the men tested negative for HCV antibody within 2 years of enrollment and at one or more follow-up visits through Sept. 30, 2011. Incident HCV infection was defined as a positive HCV antibody test at two or more follow-up visits.
The cohort was followed for a median of 7.1 years and had 55,343 person-years of follow-up. During this time, there were 115 incident HCV infections, with an incidence rate of 2.08 per 1,000 person-years (95% CI, 1.73-2.49). Among men with HIV, the incidence rate was 4.22, nearly 8.5-fold higher than the 0.5 incident rate for men without HIV.
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