STUDY Abstract: THU-429 Strong increase of acute HCV infections in HIV-negative men having sex with men – L. Cotte, et. al.
Study Aims and Results: There is strong evidence of HCV transmission in HIV-positive men having sex with men (MSM), especially those engaging in at-risk sexual practices such as chemsex (use of stimulants to enhance sexual experience), or other practices that may cause mucosal trauma (tissue damage). This French study sought to assess the risk in HIV-negative MSM.
Data were collected from 86 MSM (63 HIV+, 23 HIV-) between 2014 and 2017, identifying 92 acute HCV infections (71 first infections, 21 reinfections). The HCV risk factors included IV drug use (34%), nasal drug use (31%), sex party (66%), fisting (22%), and any drug or sexual risk (83%).
Conclusions: There was a significant increase in the number of cases of sexually transmitted HCV infections in MSM, both in HIV-positive and in HIV-negative.
Editorial Comments: These findings underscore the importance of education and harm reduction, screening of people at risk for HCV and other infectious diseases, and increasing efforts to enable access to care and HCV treatment. By doing so, we keep progressing toward the goal of eliminating viral hepatitis, as well as to help those affected by hep B and C.
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