ALEXANDRIA, Va. and BOSTON, Oct. 30 -- Researchers in New
In an analysis of 21 HCV-infected patients matched with uninfected controls, unprotected receptive anal and oral sex were significantly associated with new HCV infection. Neither current nor prior injection drug use was associated with HCV infection. In addition, treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin, initiated within 6 months of diagnosis, was completed in 16 patients with genotype 1 HCV infection; 12 (75%) achieved sustained viral response (SVR), compared to the 15-30% SVR rate expected with chronic genotype 1 HCV infection. Of significant concern, however, 30 patients underwent liver biopsy during the early infection period and 23 (77%) already had moderate fibrosis, making early curative treatment even more important to prevent further progression of liver fibrosis.
Because of these findings, study authors recommend routine screening for acute HCV for all MSM patients with HIV, using a simple and inexpensive algorithm of ALT measurement every 3 months and HCV antibody measurement every 6 to 12 months. "Changing the perception and behavior of physicians and patients is difficult," said Dr. Fierer, "One of the main barriers to early detection is the lack of recognition by physicians and patients alike that HIV-infected MSM are at risk for HCV infection. This lack of perception of the problem results in lack of screening of HIV-infected MSM and therefore lack of timely diagnosis and treatment."
Dr. Fierer thinks the next steps in battling this epidemic are educating HIV providers about the existence of this world-wide epidemic, educating patients at risk that unprotected sex among HIV-infected men is a significant risk for HCV infection, and changing the official recommendations by the US national authorities such as the CDC, HIVMA, etc, as has already been done in Europe and more recently at the state level in New York.
Characterization of an epidemic of sexually-transmitted acute hepatitis C infection in HIV-infected men in New York City
About the AASLD
AASLD is the leading medical society focused solely on advancing the science and practice of hepatology and represents more than 3,300 practitioners, researchers, and allied health professionals worldwide. Founded by physicians in 1950, AASLD has upheld the standards of the profession and fostered research that generates treatment options for the millions of patients with liver diseases.
This year's Liver Meeting, held in Boston, Massachusetts, October 30 - November 3, will bring together more than 7,000 researchers from 55 countries. A pressroom will be available from October 31 at the annual meeting. For copies of abstracts and press releases, or to arrange for pre-conference research interviews contact Gregory Bologna at 703-299-9766. To pre-register, call Ann Tracy at 703-299-9766.
Press releases, additional information for the media, and all abstracts are available online at www.aasld.org.
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SOURCE American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)
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