The population of Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) and who are also injection drug users (IDUs) is understudied. We explored risk behaviors of MSM/IDUs compared with other male IDUs in 2 Mexican border cities.
In 2005, IDUs who had injected within the previous 30 days were recruited using respondent-driven sampling (RDS) in Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez. They underwent antibody testing for HIV, HCV, and syphilis and interviewer-administered surveys. Men were categorized as MSM if they reported ≥1 lifetime male partners. Logistic regression was used to compare MSM/IDUs with non-MSM/IDUs.
A third (31%) of 377 male IDUs were categorized as MSM (47% in Tijuana and 13% in Ciudad Juárez, P <0.01). Combined RDS-adjusted prevalence of HIV and Hepatitis C was 3% (95% CI: 1, 5) and 96%, (95% CI: 94, 99) respectively, while 17% (95% CI: 2, 36) of MSM and 8% (95% CI: 3, 12) of non-MSM tested positive for syphilis antibody. In multivariate logistic regression adjusted for site, MSM/IDUs were more likely than non-MSM/IDUs to have ever used inhalants (OR: 3.4; 95% CI: 1.8, 6.2) or oral tranquilizers (OR: 2.4; 95% CI: 1.3, 4.6), received treatment for a drug problem (OR:1.9; 95% CI: 1.1, 3.2) shared needles in the last six months (OR: 2.1; 95% CI: 1.0, 4.2) and also had higher numbers of lifetime female partners (log-transformed continuous variable, OR: 1.6; 95% CI: 1.2, 2.1).
In these Mexican cities, the proportion of MSM among male IDUs was high. Compared with other male IDUs, MSM/IDUs were more likely to engage in behaviors placing them at risk of acquiring HIV/STIs. Culturally appropriate interventions targeting Latino MSM/IDUs are warranted.
In Canada, inactivated hepatitis A vaccines are targeted selectively at those at increased risk for infection or its complications. In order to evaluate the need for routine hepatitis A vaccination programs in Vancouver for street youth, injection drug users (IDUs) and men who have sex with men (MSM), we determined the prevalence of antibodies against hepatitis A virus (HAV) and risk factors for HAV in these groups.
The frequency of past HAV infection was measured in a sample of Vancouver street youth, IDUs and MSM attending outreach and STD clinics and needle exchange facilities by testing their saliva for anti-HAV immunoglobulin G. A self-administered, structured questionnaire was used to gather sociodemographic data. Stepwise logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between presumed risk factors and groups and past HAV infection.
Of 494 study participants, 235 self-reported injection drug use, 51 were self-identified as MSM and 111 met street youth criteria. Positive test results for anti-HAV were found in 6.3% of street youth (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.6%–12.6%), 42.6% (95% CI 36.2%–48.9%) of IDUs and 14.7% (95% CI 10.4%–19.1%) of individuals who denied injection drug use. Among men who denied injection drug use, the prevalence was 26.3% (10/38) for MSM and 12% (21/175) for heterosexuals. Logistic regression showed that past HAV infection was associated with increased age and birth in a country with high rates of hepatitis infection. Injection drug use among young adults (25–34 years old) was a significant risk factor for a positive anti-HAV test (p = 0.009). MSM were also at higher risk for past HAV infection, although this association was nominally significant (p = 0.07).
Low rates of past HAV infection among Vancouver street youth indicate a low rate of virus circulation in this population, which is vulnerable to hepatitis A outbreaks. An increased risk for HAV infection in IDUs and MSM supports the need to develop routine vaccination programs for these groups also.
To identify risk factors for hepatitis C among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM), focusing on potential sexual, nosocomial, and other non-sexual determinants.
Outbreaks of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among HIV-positive MSM have been reported by clinicians in post-industrialized countries since 2000. The sexual acquisition of HCV by gay men who are HIV positive is not, however, fully understood.
Between 2006 and 2008, a case-control study was embedded into a behavioural survey of MSM in Germany. Cases were HIV-positive and acutely HCV-co-infected, with no history of injection drug use. HIV-positive MSM without known HCV infection, matched for age group, served as controls. The HCV-serostatus of controls was assessed by serological testing of dried blood specimens. Univariable and multivariable regression analyses were used to identify factors independently associated with HCV-co-infection.
34 cases and 67 controls were included. Sex-associated rectal bleeding, receptive fisting and snorting cocaine/amphetamines, combined with group sex, were independently associated with case status. Among cases, surgical interventions overlapped with sex-associated rectal bleeding.
Sexual practices leading to rectal bleeding, and snorting drugs in settings of increased HCV-prevalence are risk factors for acute hepatitis C. We suggest that sharing snorting equipment as well as sharing sexual partners might be modes of sexual transmission. Condoms and gloves may not provide adequate protection if they are contaminated with blood. Public health interventions for HIV-positive gay men should address the role of blood in sexual risk behaviour. Further research is needed into the interplay of proctosurgery and sex-associated rectal bleeding.
The dual risks of male-to-male sex and drug injection have put men who have sex with men and inject drugs (MSM-IDU) at the forefront of the HIV epidemic, with the highest rates of infection among any risk group in the United States. This study analyzes data collected from 357 MSM-IDU in San Francisco between 1998 and 2002 to examine how risk behaviors differ by HIV serostatus and self-identified sexual orientation and to assess medical and social service utilization among HIV-positive MSM-IDU. Twenty-eight percent of the sample tested HIV antibody positive. There was little difference in risk behaviors between HIV-negative and HIV-positive MSM-IDU. Thirty percent of HIV-positive MSM-IDU reported distributive syringe sharing, compared to 40% of HIV negatives. Among MSM-IDU who reported anal intercourse in past 6 months, 70% of positives and 66% of HIV negatives reported unprotected anal intercourse. HIV status varied greatly by self-identified sexual orientation: 46% among gay, 24% among bisexual, and 14% among heterosexual MSM-IDU. Heterosexual MSM-IDU were more likely than other MSM-IDU to be homeless and to trade sex for money or drugs. Gay MSM-IDU were more likely to have anal intercourse. Bisexual MSM-IDU were as likely as heterosexual MSM-IDU to have sex with women and as likely as gay-identified MSM-IDU to have anal intercourse. Among MSM-IDU who were HIV positive, 15% were currently on antiretroviral therapy and 18% were currently in drug treatment, and 87% reported using a syringe exchange program in the past 6 months. These findings have implications for the development of HIV interventions that target the diverse MSM-IDU population.
MSM; Injection drug user; Methamphetamine; HIV; Epidemiology; MSM-IDU; Sexual risk
To estimate the cost and cost-effectiveness of testing sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic subgroups for antibodies to hepatitis C virus (HCV).
HCV counseling, testing, and referral (CTR) costs were estimated using data from two STD clinics and the literature, and are reported in 2006 dollars. Effectiveness of HCV CTR was defined as the estimated percentage of clinic clients in subgroups targeted for HCV antibody (anti-HCV) testing who had a true positive test and returned for their test results. We estimated the cost per true positive injection drug user (IDU) who returned for anti-HCV test results and the cost-effectiveness of expanding HCV CTR to non-IDU subgroups.
The estimated cost per true positive IDU who returned for test results was $54. The cost-effectiveness of expanding HCV CTR to non-IDU subgroups ranged from $179 to $2,986. Our estimates were most sensitive to variations in HCV prevalence, the cost of testing, and the rate of client return.
Based on national data, testing IDUs in the STD clinic setting is highly cost-effective. Some clinics may find that it is cost-effective to expand testing to non-IDU men older than 40 who report more than 100 lifetime sex partners. STD clinics can use study estimates to assess the feasibility and desirability of expanding HCV CTR beyond IDUs.
To explore the associations between self reported high risk sexual behaviours and subsequent diagnosis with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
The Sex, Health and Anti‐Retrovirals Project (SHARP) was a cross sectional study of sexual behaviour in HIV positive, men who have sex with men (MSM) attending a London outpatient clinic. From July 1999 to August 2000 participants completed a computer assisted self interview questionnaire (CASI) on recent sexual behaviour, recreational drug use, and detailed reporting of the last two sexual episodes involving different partners. Results were combined with routine clinic data and subsequent testing for HCV up to 21 April 2005. A new HCV diagnosis was defined as anti‐HCV antibody seroconversion or positive HCV RNA following a previous negative. Incident rate ratios (IRR) were calculated using Poisson regression in Stata (version 9). Men contributed time at risk from interview until either their diagnosis or their last negative test result.
Of the 422 men who completed questionnaires, 308 (73%) had sufficient clinical and HCV testing data available for analysis. Incident HCV infection was identified in 11 men. Unprotected anal intercourse, more than 30 sex partners in the past year, higher numbers of new anal sex partners, rimming (oro‐anal sex), fisting, use of sex toys, and intranasal recreational drug use were associated with HCV. In multivariate analysis only fisting remained associated with HCV (adjusted IRR 6.27, p = 0.005).
In this study of HIV positive MSM, fisting is strongly associated with HCV infection. Where individuals report high risk sexual behaviours, clinicians should offer appropriate testing for HCV infection.
hepatitis C virus infection; sexual behaviour; MSM; HIV positive
Injection drug users (IDUs) are at risk for infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Information on time trends in prevalence of these viruses among IDUs and in behaviors influencing their transmission can help define the status of these epidemics and of public health efforts to control them. We conducted a secondary data analysis combining cross-sectional data from IDUs aged 18–30 years enrolled in four Seattle-area studies from 1994 to 2004. Participants in all four studies were tested for antibody to HIV (anti-HIV), hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc), and HCV (anti-HCV), and completed behavioral risk assessments. Logistic regression was used to investigate trends in prevalence over time after controlling for sociodemographic, drug use, and sexual behavior variables. Between 1994 and 2004, anti-HBc prevalence declined from 43 to 15% (p < 0.001), anti-HCV prevalence fell from 68 to 32% (p < 0.001) and anti-HIV prevalence remained constant at 2–3%. Declines in anti-HBc and anti-HCV prevalence were observed within the individual studies, although not all these declines were statistically significant. The declines in anti-HBc and anti-HCV prevalence remained significant after control for confounding. Although we did not observe coincident declines in injection equipment sharing practices, there were increases in self-reported needle-exchange use, condom use, and hepatitis B vaccination. We conclude that there has been a substantial and sustained reduction in prevalence rates for HBV and HCV infection among young Seattle IDUs, while HIV rates have remained low and stable.
HIV; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Injection drug users; Adolescents; Needle sharing; Needle exchange; Hepatitis B vaccination
We aimed to determine the incidence of Hepatitis C (HCV) infection among HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) attending a Sexual Health Centre.
A retrospective cohort study was carried out among HIV-infected MSM seen at least once between February 2002 and March 2010. The analysis was restricted to MSM who had had a negative HCV antibody test at least 6 months after their diagnosis for HIV. Duration of follow up was taken from the date of HIV diagnosis to the first positive or last negative HCV antibody test.
During the time 1445 HIV-infected men attended the clinic of whom 1065 (74%) were MSM. Of these, 869 (82%) were tested for HCV at any time after HIV diagnosis. Of these 869, 69% (620) tested HCV negative at least 6 months after their HIV diagnosis. These 620 men had a mean age of 34 years (range 17-72) at HIV diagnosis and a total of 4,359 person years (PY) of follow up. There were 40 incident cases of HCV, of which 16 were in injecting drug users (IDU) and 24 in non-IDU. The overall incidence of HCV among HIV-infected MSM was 0.9/100 PY (95% CI 0.6-1.2). The incidence among HIV-infected IDU was 4.7/100 PY (95% CI 2.7-7.5) while the incidence among HIV-infected non-IDU was 0.6/100 PY (95% CI 0.4-0.8) (hazard ratio of 8.7 and 95% CI 4.6-16.6, P < 0.001).
The majority (78%) were tested for HCV because they developed abnormal liver transaminases (n = 31) or hepatitis symptoms (n = 2), while others (n = 7) were identified through routine HCV testing.
A considerable proportion of HIV-positive MSM who did not inject drugs contracted HCV, presumably via sexual transmission and the main trigger for investigation was abnormal liver transaminases.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) emerged as sexually transmitted infection among HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM). We studied whether HCV circulated in identifiable high-risk MSM subcultures and performed phylogenetic analysis.
HIV-infected MSM were recruited at the sexually transmitted infections (STI) outpatient clinic and a university HIV clinic in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2008–2009. Participants completed a detailed questionnaire and were tested for HCV antibodies and RNA, with NS5B regions sequenced for analysis of clusters.
Among 786 participants, the median age was 43 (IQR 37–48) years, and 93 (11.8%) were HCV-positive. Seropositivity was associated with belonging to subcultures identified as leather (aOR 2.60; 95% CI 1.56–4.33), rubber/lycra (aOR 2.15; 95% CI 1.10–4.21), or jeans (aOR 2.23; 95% CI 1.41–3.54). The two largest HCV-RNA monophyletic clusters were compared; MSM in cluster I (genotype 1a, n = 13) reported more partners (P = 0.037) than MSM in cluster II (genotype 4d, n = 14), but demographics, subculture characteristics and other risk behaviors did not differ significantly between the two clusters.
HCV infection is associated with identifiable groups of leather/rubber/lycra/jeans subcultures among HIV-infected MSM. Separate epidemiological HCV transmission networks were not revealed. Active HCV screening and treatment within specific subcultures may reduce HCV spread among all MSM.
This study was conducted to assess the accuracy of self-reported hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody (anti-HCV) serostatus in injection drug users (IDUs), and examine whether self-reported anti-HCV serostatus was associated with recent injection risk behavior.
In five U.S. cities (Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle), 3,004 IDUs from 15 to 30 years old were recruited for a baseline interview to determine eligibility for a randomized controlled trial of a behavioral intervention. HIV and HCV antibody testing were performed, and subject data (e.g., demographics, drug and sexual risk behavior, and history of HIV and HCV testing) were collected via audio computer-administered self-interview. Risk behavior during the previous three months was compared to self-reported anti-HCV serostatus.
Anti-HCV prevalence in this sample of young IDUs was 34.1%. Seventy-two percent of anti-HCV-positive and 46% of anti-HCV-negative IDUs in this sample were not aware of their HCV serostatus. Drug treatment or needle exchange use was associated with increased awareness of HCV serostatus. Anti-HCV-negative IDUs who knew their serostatus were less likely than those unaware of their status to inject with a syringe used by another IDU or to share cottons to filter drug solutions. Knowledge of one's positive anti-HCV status was not associated with safer injection practices.
Few anti-HCV-positive IDUs in this study were aware of their serostatus. Expanded availability of HCV screening with high quality counseling is clearly needed for this population to promote the health of chronically HCV-infected IDUs and to decrease risk among injectors susceptible to acquiring or transmitting HCV.
In the last two decades, ‘concentrated epidemics’ of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have established in several high risk groups in Pakistan, including Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) and among men who have sex with men (MSM). To explore the transmission patterns of HIV infection in these major high-risk groups of Pakistan, 76 HIV samples were analyzed from MSM, their female spouses and children, along with 26 samples from a previously studied cohort of IDUs. Phylogenetic analysis of HIV gag gene sequences obtained from these samples indicated a substantial degree of intermixing between the IDU and MSM populations, suggesting a bridging of HIV infection from IDUs, via MSM, to the MSM spouses and children. HIV epidemic in Pakistan is now spreading to the female spouses and offspring of bisexual MSM. HIV control and awareness programs must be refocused to include IDUs, MSM, as well as bisexual MSM, and their spouses and children.
To address the role of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/sexually transmitted disease (STD) epidemic in China.
To explore the prevalence of risky sexual behaviors and the existing prevention efforts among men who have sex with men (MSM) in China.
Review of behavioral and STD/HIV prevention studies addressing MSM in China.
Sexual risk behaviors including unprotected group sex, anal sex, casual sex, and commercial sex were prevalent among Chinese MSM. Many Chinese MSM also engaged in unprotected sex with both men and women. Most MSM either did not perceive that they were at risk of HIV/AIDS or underestimated their risk of infection. Surveillance and intervention research among these men are still in the preliminary stages.
Chinese MSM are at risk for HIV/STD infection and potential transmission of HIV to the general population. In addition to sexual risk reduction among MSM, reduction of homosexualityrelated stigma should be part of effective intervention efforts. Volunteers from the MSM community and health care workers in primary health care system may serve as valuable resources for HIV/STD prevention and control among MSM.
The HEPAIG study was conducted to better understand Hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission among human immuno-deficiency (HIV)-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) and assess incidence of HCV infection among this population in France.
Methods and Results
Acute HCV infection defined by anti-HCV or HCV ribonucleic acid (RNA) positivity within one year of documented anti-HCV negativity was notified among HIV-infected MSM followed up in HIV/AIDS clinics from a nationwide sampling frame. HIV and HCV infection characteristics, HCV potential exposures and sexual behaviour were collected by the physicians and via self-administered questionnaires. Phylogenetic analysis of the HCV-NS5B region was conducted.
HCV incidence was 48/10 000 [95% Confidence Interval (CI):43–54] and 36/10 000 [95% CI: 30–42] in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Among the 80 men enrolled (median age: 40 years), 55% were HIV-diagnosed before 2000, 56% had at least one sexually transmitted infection in the year before HCV diagnosis; 55% were HCV-infected with genotype 4 (15 men in one 4d-cluster), 32.5% with genotype 1 (three 1a-clusters); five men were HCV re-infected; in the six-month preceding HCV diagnosis, 92% reported having casual sexual partners sought online (75.5%) and at sex venues (79%), unprotected anal sex (90%) and fisting (65%); using recreational drugs (62%) and bleeding during sex (55%).
This study emphasizes the role of multiple unprotected sexual practices and recreational drugs use during sex in the HCV emergence in HIV-infected MSM. It becomes essential to adapt prevention strategies and inform HIV-infected MSM with recent acute HCV infection on risk of re-infection and on risk-reduction strategies.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is hyperendemic among injection drug users (IDUs). However, few scientifically proven interventions to prevent secondary transmission of HCV from infected IDUs to others exist. This report describes the design, feasibility, and baseline characteristics of participants enrolled in the Study to Reduce Intravenous Exposure (STRIVE). STRIVE was a multisite, randomized-control trial to test a behavioral intervention developed to reduce distribution of used injection equipment (needles, cookers, cottons, and rinse water) and increase health-care utilization among antibody HCV (anti-HCV) positive IDUs. STRIVE enrolled anti-HCV positive IDU in Baltimore, New York City, and Seattle; participants completed behavioral assessments and venipuncture for HIV, HCV-RNA, and liver function tests (LFTs) and were randomized to attend either a six-session, small-group, peer-mentoring intervention workshop or a time-matched, attention-control condition. Follow-up visits were conducted at 3 and 6 months. At baseline, of the 630 HCV-positive IDUs enrolled (mean age of 26 years, 60% white, 76% male), 55% reported distributive needle sharing, whereas 74, 69, and 69% reported sharing cookers, cottons, and rinse water, respectively. Health-care access was low, with 41% reporting an emergency room as their main source of medical care. Among those enrolled, 66% (418/630) were randomized: 53% (222/418) and 47% (196/418) to the intervention and control conditions, respectively. Follow-up rates were 70 and 73% for the 3- and 6-month visits, respectively. As distributive sharing of used injection equipment was common while reports of receiving HCV care were low, these findings indicate an urgent need for HCV-related interventions with IDUs and demonstrate the acceptability and feasibility to do so.
Behavioral intervention; Health-care utilization; hepatitis C virus; Injection drug user; Randomized trial
In 1999, the Texas legislature funded a statewide hepatitis C education and prevention program. Hepatitis training was incorporated into training for all human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), sexually transmitted disease (STD), and substance abuse counselors. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) counseling and HCV-antibody (anti-HCV) testing services were integrated into 20 HIV/STD service provider programs. Hepatitis C counseling and testing became available in 2000. Through 2005, 38,717 tests were administered, with 8,964 (23.2%) anti-HCV positive. Injection drug use was reported by 7,105 people (79.3%) who tested positive. In Texas, a state-initiated and almost entirely state-funded program supported statewide HCV counseling and anti-HCV testing among high-risk adults.
An increase in the incidence of sexually transmitted infections and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in HIV‐infected men who have sex with men (MSM) has recently been reported.
To estimate HCV incidence and risk factors among HIV‐1‐infected patients followed up since primary HIV infection in the French PRIMO Cohort between 1996 and 2005.
Patients and methods
All patients with at least 18 months of follow‐up were studied. HCV antibody tests were performed on baseline plasma samples and repeated on the latest available sample when negative at baseline.
In total, 402 patients with a median follow‐up of 36 (range 18–104) months were eligible. HCV seroconversion was observed in 6 patients (4 men and 2 women), corresponding to an HCV incidence rate of 4.3 per 1000 person‐years. Incidence rates in men and women were 3.5 and 7.8 per 1000 person‐years, respectively. The incidence rate was 1.2 per 1000 person‐years before January 2003 and 8.3 per 1000 person‐years after January 2003 (p = 0.06). The classic risk factors for HCV infection were found in women (intravenous drug use, and body piercing), whereas the only identified risk factor for HCV acquisition was unsafe sex in the four men.
Increase in the incidence of acute HCV infection in recently HIV‐infected patients confirms the shift in sexual behaviour in the recent years, especially in HIV‐infected MSM. Repeated testing for HCV antibodies should be carried out in HCV‐negative HIV‐infected patients and specific recommendations about protected sex should be clearly provided.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection occurs among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) because of shared routes of transmission. To assess the association between HCV and HIV infection among MSM in Peru, we conducted a matched case-control study (162 HIV-positive cases and 324 HIV-negative controls) among participants of an HIV sentinel surveillance survey in six urban cities. The HCV infection was initially screened using anti-HCV ELISA and immunoblot assay, and thereafter confirmed by the HCV RNA qualitative assay. Among cases, no confirmed HCV infection was found while among controls, only two confirmed HCV infections were reported (0.62%). This matched case-control reports a very low probability of association between HCV and HIV co-infection and suggests a very low prevalence of HCV infection among MSM in Peru.
To assess the prevalence of HIV infection and characteristically risk of factors which associated with HIV infection among MSM in Harbin, China.
A face-to-face questionnaire interview was conducted among 463 Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) who were recruited by the snowball sampling in Harbin from April, 2011 to July, 2011. The questionnaire mainly included demographics, AIDS knowledge, homosexual behavior and the status of intervention in MSM. Blood specimens were obtained and tested for the diagnoses of HIV, syphilis and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Associations between above exposed factors and HIV infection were analyzed using a univariate analysis and forward stepwise logistic regression.
The prevalence of HIV and syphilis was 9.5 and 14.3%. The awareness rate of AIDS was 86.8%. The rate of unprotected sexual behavior was 57.6% of MSM during the past 6 months. The univariate analysis identified that the age (age≥35 years old), cohabitation, more than 10 years of homosexual behavior and more than 10 homosexual partners were risk factors which associated with the HIV infection, and that protected sex during the past 6 months was a protective factor for the HIV infection. The multivariate analysis identified that the duration of homosexual behavior and commercial sexual behavior were independent risk factors which associated with the HIV infection, and the protected sex during the past 6 months was a protective factor for the HIV infection.
The prevalence of HIV among MSM in Harbin has been rapidly increasing in the past few years. Targeted, tailored, and comprehensive interventions are urgently needed to prevent the HIV infection from MSM.
Outbreaks of sexually transmitted hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections have been recently reported in HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) in Europe, Australia, and North America. Little is known concerning whether this also occurs in other Asia-Pacific countries. Between 1994 and 2010, a prospective observational cohort study was performed to assess the incidence of recent HCV seroconversion in 892 HIV-infected patients (731 MSM and 161 heterosexuals) who were not injecting drug users. A nested case-control study was conducted to identify associated factors with recent HCV seroconversion, and phylogenetic analysis was performed using NS5B sequences amplified from seroconverters. During a total followup duration of 4,270 person-years (PY), 30 patients (3.36%) had HCV seroconversion, with an overall incidence rate of 7.03 per 1,000 PY. The rate increased from 0 in 1994 to 2000 and 2.29 in 2001 to 2005 to 10.13 per 1,000 PY in 2006 to 2010 (P < 0.05). After adjustment for age and HIV transmission route, recent syphilis remained an independent factor associated with HCV seroconversion (odds ratio, 7.731; 95% confidence interval, 3.131 to 19.086; P < 0.01). In a nested case-control study, seroconverters had higher aminotranferase levels and were more likely to have CD4 ≥ 200 cells/μl and recent syphilis than nonseroconverters (P < 0.05). Among the 21 patients with HCV viremia, phylogenetic analysis revealed 7 HCV transmission clusters or pairs (4 within genotype 1b, 2 within genotype 2a, and 1 within genotype 3a). The incidence of HCV seroconversion that is associated with recent syphilis is increasing among HIV-infected patients in Taiwan.
In California, injection drug users (IDUs) comprise the second leading risk group for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and the majority of hepatitis C virus (HCV) cases. Innovative disease screening and prevention activities are needed to improve disease surveillance and to guide appropriate public health responses. This study tested the hypothesis that offering HIV counseling and testing (C&T) concurrently with HCV C&T will increase HIV C&T rates among IDUs.
From February through June 2003, HIV and HCV C&T were integrated in five California local health jurisdictions. HIV C&T and disclosure rates among IDUs were monitored when HIV C&T was offered alone during a baseline phase and when offered with HCV C&T during an intervention phase.
Among IDUs, HIV C&T rates were significantly higher when HIV and HCV C&T were offered together (27.1%, 354/1,305) than when HIV C&T services were offered alone (8.4%, 138/1,645) (p<0.05). HIV disclosure rates increased from 54.3% (75/138) when only HIV test results were disclosed to 71.8% (254/354) when HIV test results were disclosed concurrently with HCV test results (p<0.05). HCV prevalence among IDUs tested ranged from 23% to 75% at the five project sites. Integrating HIV and HCV C&T increased overall C&T time required for staff and clients and increased stress among counselors due to the number of positive test results (HCV) given to clients.
Study results suggest that integrating HIV and HCV C&T can increase disease screening rates among IDUs. Careful planning of integrated staff activities and schedules is recommended.
Acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is being acquired undetected among HIV-infected individuals. A practical way to regularly screen HIV-infected patients for acute HCV irrespective of perceived risk or symptoms is needed. We piloted implementation of an acute HCV screening strategy using routine HIV clinical care schedules and the least costly blood tests, in a Rhode Island HIV care center. Study participants had ongoing HCV risk, completed questionnaires encompassing risk behaviors and perception of risk, and were screened with quarterly alanine aminotransferase (ALT). ALT rise triggered HCV RNA testing, with pooled rather than individual specimen HCV RNA testing for underinsured participants. Participants were primarily older, college-educated men who have sex with men (MSM) with history of sexually transmitted infection other than HIV. One of 58 participants developed acute HCV in 50 person–years of observation for an annual incidence of 2.0% per year (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.05–11.1%). The majority (54%) of MSM did not perceive that traumatic sexual and drug practices they were engaging in put them at risk for HCV. Unprotected sex often occurred under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Self-reported HCV risk and participation in several risk behaviors declined during the study. It was possible to collect frequent ALTs in a busy HIV clinic with 71% of total projected ALTs obtained and 88% of participants having at least one ALT during the 9-month follow-up period. All instances of ALT rise led to reflexive HCV RNA testing. Tracking quarterly ALT for elevation to systematically prompt HCV RNA testing before seroconversion is a promising approach to screen for acute HCV in a real-world HIV clinical setting.
OBJECTIVE--To study risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in injecting drug users (IDUs) from central Sydney. SETTING AND SUBJECTS--All IDUs attending a primary health care facility in central Sydney between December 1991 and November 1992 who underwent HCV antibody testing. METHODS--Information was obtained retrospectively from client forms routinely completed at the time of medical consultation. Additional information on injecting history and practice was obtained from the registration forms of subjects who also attended the needle syringe exchange programme at the same health care facility. RESULTS--Of the 201 IDUs tested, 118 (59%) had HCV antibodies, which did not differ significantly between males and females. HCV prevalence increased significantly with age, being highest in IDUs who were aged 35 years or more (93%) and lowest in IDUs aged under 20 years (17%). HCV prevalence increased significantly with time since first injecting, from 26% for IDUs who had injected for less than 3 years to 94% for those who had injected for more than 10 years. HCV prevalence was also significantly higher in heterosexual IDUs as compared with homosexual male IDUs, and in opiate users as compared with stimulant users, even after adjustment for age and duration of injecting. HCV prevalence was strongly associated with exposure to hepatitis B virus, but was not associated with exposure to HIV. CONCLUSION--Recent HCV transmission indicates ongoing injecting risk behaviour despite HIV prevention efforts, and underlies the potential for increased transmission of HIV through the sharing of injecting equipment. Within the population of IDUs, those who are heterosexual or inject heroin appear to be at increased risk of HCV infection.
A seroprevalence study was carried out on 1757 outpatients consecutively seen in a sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic in order to evaluate the sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV). A total of 1442 consenting patients were tested for hepatitis C, hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HCV, HBV, HIV-1) antibodies. The relations between anti-HCV, anti-HBc and anti-HIV-1 were studied. Of 73 anti-HCV positive reactions, 45 (61·6%) were confirmed by the recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA). The proportion of individuals with anti-HCV was higher in outpatients with a history of sexually transmitted disease than without. It was 2·8% in non drug user heterosexuals and 2·9% in non drug user homosexuals. Intravenous drug users (IDU) had higher anti-HCV prevalence when a history of STD was taken into account (42·3% in subjects with STD versus 36·7% in subjects without STD). Among non drug user heterosexuals an association was found between anti-HCV and anti-HBc. These data suggest that sexual transmission of HCV occurs, although it seems to be less efficient than other parenteral modes of transmission. When a more sensitive and specific marker of HCV infection become available, a more accurate estimate of the frequency and efficiency of the sexual transmission will be possible.
Beginning in 1994, Vancouver experienced an explosive outbreak of HIV infection among injection drug users (IDUs). The objectives of this study were to measure the prevalence and incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in this context and to examine factors associated with HCV seroconversion among IDUs.
IDUs recruited through a study site and street outreach completed interviewer-administered questionnaires covering subjects' characteristics, behaviour, health status and service utilization and underwent serologic testing for HIV and HCV at baseline and semiannually thereafter. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to identify independent correlates of HCV seroconversion.
As of Nov. 30, 1999, 1345 subjects had been recruited into the study cohort. The prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies was 81.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 79.6% to 83.6%) at enrolment. Sixty-two HCV seroconversions occurred among 155 IDUs who were initially HCV negative and who returned for follow-up, for an overall incidence density rate of 29.1 per 100 person-years (95% CI 22.3 to 37.3). The HCV incidence remained above 16 per 100 person-years over 3 years of observation (December 1996 to November 1999), whereas HIV incidence declined from more than 19 to less than 5 per 100 person-years. Independent correlates of HCV seroconversion included female sex, cocaine use, injecting at least daily and frequent attendance at a needle exchange program.
Because of high transmissibility of HCV among those injecting frequently and using cocaine, the harm reduction initiatives deployed in Vancouver during the study period proved insufficient to eliminate hepatitis C transmission in this population.
Although the primary mode of hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission is exposure to blood products or injection drug use (IDU), studies have found varying independent risk factors for HCV infection among persons with no history of IDU or exposure to blood products. For HIV-infected women, sexual transmission may be another potential source of HCV infection. HIV-infected and HIV-negative women at risk for HIV enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) during October 1994 to November 1995 and again between October 2001 and November 2002 were studied. Clinical and demographic factors associated with HCV seroprevalence were assessed in multivariate logistic regression models controlling for history of blood transfusion and IDU. Among 3636 women with HCV results, 31.5% were HCV antibody positive (HCV+) including 13.5% with no reported history of IDU or blood transfusions. Multivariate logistic regression analyses stratified on IDU showed that among women with no history of IDU, sex with an IDU male was independently associated with HCV positivity (odds ratio [OR] = 2.8, 95% confidence [CI] = 2.1, 3.8, p < 0.0001) after controlling for blood transfusion, age, HIV infection, unemployment, birth in the United States, history of hepatitis B infection, and current smoking status. Further stratification on HIV status showed that the association was significant only for the HIV+ (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.3, 2.7, p = 0.0007) compared to the HIV− women (OR = 1.1, 95% CI = 0.4, 2.7) although these odds ratios were not significantly different ( p = 0.25). For HIV-positive women with no reported history of IDU, sex with an IDU male was independently associated with HCV suggesting that sexual transmission may be an important mode of HCV transmission for these high-risk women.