Study: High HCV reinfection rate among MSM in Europe
An analysis of HCV reinfection incidence rates in HIV-positive men who have sex with men in Western Europe was published in the February issue of the Journal of Hepatology. The team of researchers has analyzed data on HIV positive men who have sex with men (MSM) between 2002 and 2014 and it included data from 8 centers in Austria, France, Germany, and the UK.
The study involved 606 patients with acute HCV infection, 494 men (81.5%) had achieved sustained virologic response after treatment and one hundred and eleven men (18.3%) cleared the virus spontaneously. 24.6% later presented with subsequent HCV infection. In some cases, patients became reinfected for a second, third, or fourth time.
The scientists found this rate of reinfection alarming and suggested that frequent testing for reinfection is needed for those who have been cleared of HCV virus among this high-risk group. Chronic HCV infection might cause liver cancer and liver damage and it is known that liver damage is a major cause of mortality for people living with HIV.
“Prevention strategies – both treatment and behavioral – are needed to target high risk groups to reduce morbidity and treatment costs,” the team concluded. “Patients as well as clinicians have to be aware of the specific risk behavior in this setting and counseling should be accompanied by behavioral interventions to avoid reinfections,” research team stated.