From the Journals

Rare mixed HCV genotypes found in men who have sex with men



A low percentage of mixed genotypes of hepatitis C virus (HCV) was found in a small study of recently infected HIV+ and HIV– men who have sex with men (MSM) according to a report by Thuy Nguyen, PhD, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and colleagues published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.


The researchers assessed 58 HCV-infected individuals with a median age of 38.5 years, 50 of whom were HIV positive and 18 of whom were HIV negative. Most of the patients were MSM (85.3%), with the rest of unknown sexual orientation. HCV genotyping by Sanger found types GT1a, GT4d, GT3a, and GT2k infection in 47.1%, 41.2%, 8.8%, and 2.9% of the individuals.

After eliminating suspected contaminations, three patients (4.4%) were found with mixed GT infections All three patients were infected with HCV for the first time; two-thirds were coinfected with HIV. The mixed GTs comprised only GT4d and GT1a at different ratios. Mixed infections are potentially problematic when using direct-acting antiviral therapy without broad-spectrum activity, according to the researchers. In this case, however, all HCV patients achieved treatment success.

“From a public health perspective, the MSM population engaging in high-risk behaviors still requires special attention in terms of mixed infections compared with the general HCV-infected population with a regular monitoring of anti-HCV treatment response, particularly when pangenotypic treatment is not used,” the researchers concluded.

The study was funded by the French government; the authors reported having no conflicts.

SOURCE: Nguyen T et al. Int J Antimicrobial Agents. 2019. 54[4]:523-7.

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