HIV-positive men living in New York City who clear hepatitis C virus (HCV), whether spontaneously or through treatment, are reinfected with hep C at a high rate that is comparable to that of their European counterparts.
Previous studies conducted among HIV-positive MSM in Europe have found that those treated for hep C with interferon-based regimens have annual reinfection rates of 3 to 15 percent. To date, there are no data available regarding HCV reinfection rates in similar cohorts in the United States or among those cured of the virus with direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment.
Findings suggest that HIV-positive MSM who clear HCV should receive long-term monitoring for hep C reinfection. Additionally, strategies to lower HCV reinfection rates in this population are warranted.
“I think we’ve come a long way from the ‘Just Say No,’ era and need to address the very real issues of addiction,” Fierer said, alluding to the contribution of drug use to the risk of sexual transmission of HCV among HIV-positive MSM.
“I viewed this study as a way to alert us to the need to spend more time on prevention” of HCV, Fierer said, referring to the members of his field of infectious disease physicians.