Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is known to be a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM). To examine this relationship in HIV-negative MSM, researchers in the Amsterdam PrEP Project team in the HIV Transmission Elimination AMsterdam (H-TEAM) Initiative evaluated HCV-incidence and its risk-factors in this population, who were using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Participants in the Amsterdam PrEP project were tested for HCV antibodies or HCV-RNA every 6 months. During the period, participants used daily or event-driven PrEP and could switch regimens during follow-up, according to the report by published in the Journal of Hepatology .
HIV-negative MSM on PrEP are at risk for incident HCV-infection, while identified risk-factors are similar to those in HIV-positive MSM.
Among 350 participants, they detected 15 HCV infections in 14 participants, finding 8 primary infections and 7 reinfections. The researchers found that the factors associated with incident HCV-infection were higher number of receptive condomless anal sex acts with casual partners, anal STI, injecting drug use, and sharing straws when snorting drugs. These are similar r isk-factors to those found among in HIV-positive MSM.
They concluded that, because HIV-negative MSM on PrEP are at risk for incident HCV-infection, regular HCV-testing was needed, especially for those with a previous HCV-infection.