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1.  Low Prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus Antibody in Men Who Have Sex with Men Who Do Not Inject Drugs 
Public Health Reports  2007;122(Suppl 2):63-67.
It is well documented that injection drug users (IDUs) have a high prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis C virus (HCV). Sexual transmission of HCV can occur, but studies have shown that men who have sex with men (MSM) without a history of injection drug use are not at increased risk for infection. Still, some health-care providers believe that all MSM should be routinely tested for HCV infection. To better understand the potential role of MSM in risk for HCV infection, we compared the prevalence of antibody to HCV (anti-HCV) in non-IDU MSM with that among other non-IDU n at sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) counseling and testing sites in three cities.
During 1999–2003, public health STD clinics or HIV testing programs in Seattle, San Diego, and New York City offered counseling and testing for anti-HCV for varying periods to all clients. Sera were tested using enzyme immunoassays, and final results reported using either the signal-to-cutoff ratio or recombinant immunoblot assay results. Age, sex, and risk information were collected. Prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated.
Anti-HCV prevalence among IDUs (men and women) was between 47% and 57% at each site, with an overall prevalence of 51% (451/887). Of 1,699 non-IDU MSM, 26 (1.5%) tested anti-HCV positive, compared with 126 (3.6%) of 3,455 other non-IDU men (prevalence ratio 0.42, 95% confidence interval 0.28, 0.64).
The low prevalence of anti-HCV among non-IDU MSM in urban public health clinics does not support routine HCV testing of all MSM.
PMCID: PMC1831798  PMID: 17542456
2.  Medical Care and Alcohol Use after Testing Hepatitis C Antibody Positive at STD Clinic and HIV Test Site Screening Programs 
Public Health Reports  2007;122(1):37-43.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend screening individuals at risk for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. However, few published data describe outcomes of individuals with antibody to HCV (anti-HCV) identified through screening programs. The purpose of this study was to assess rates of medical evaluation and HCV treatment, change in alcohol consumption, and barriers to medical care after testing anti-HCV positive through a public screening program.
Anti-HCV positive individuals identified through San Diego sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics and an HIV test site screening program were informed of positive test results, provided education and referral, and contacted by telephone three, six, and ≥12 months later.
From September 1, 1999, to December 31, 2001, 411 anti-HCV positive individuals were newly identified, of whom 286 (70%) could be contacted ≥ three months after receipt of test results (median length [range] of follow-up 14 [3–35] months). Of these 286, 156 (55%) reported having received a medical evaluation, of whom 19 (12%) began HCV treatment. Of 132 who reported drinking alcohol before diagnosis, 100 (76%) reported drinking less after diagnosis. Individuals with medical insurance at diagnosis were more likely than those without insurance to obtain a medical evaluation during follow-up (75 [68%] of 111 vs. 70 [45%] of 155; p<0.001). Among those who did not obtain an evaluation, the most commonly reported reason was lack of insurance.
Only about half of newly identified anti-HCV positive individuals received a medical evaluation, although 76% reported drinking less alcohol. Identifying ways to improve medical access for those who are anti-HCV positive could improve the effectiveness of screening programs.
PMCID: PMC1802122  PMID: 17236606

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