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WHO-commissioned international systematic assessment finds excessive HCV prevalence and incidence amongst males who’ve intercourse with males

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In collaboration with the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney, Australia, WHO has revealed at this time a systematic assessment and meta-analysis of the prevalence and incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) an infection in males who’ve intercourse with males (MSM) in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

Globally an estimated 71 million folks have continual HCV an infection and every year, there are an estimated 1.75 million new infections.

WHO has set targets to eradicate hepatitis C virus by 2030. This formidable objective is inside attain as healing direct-acting antivirals (DAA) for HCV are actually obtainable along with efficient prevention measures. While HCV transmission happens primarily by way of injecting drug use and unsafe injecting in healthcare settings, sexual transmission may additionally happen, significantly by way of unprotected anal intercourse. 

WHO commissioned this systematic assessment and meta-analysis to summarise the worldwide proof on the prevalence and incidence of HCV an infection amongst MSM and to look at associations with HIV and injecting drug use. The outcomes are introduced on this paper.

Of 1221 publications recognized, 194 had been assessed to be eligible and included within the meta-analysis.

“Findings from this review show that MSM populations globally have a high burden of HCV infection, with substantial variations across countries and regions,” states the lead writer, Jeff Jin, from the united states Sydney. In this assessment, the general pooled HCV prevalence in MSM was 3.4% (95% CI: 2.8-4.0).

The publication confirms the elevated HCV threat in HIV-positive MSM.  The assessment discovered that globally, pooled HCV prevalence in HIV-positive MSM was 6.3% (95% CI: 5.3-7.5) in contrast with 1.5% (95% CI: 1.0-2.1) in HIV-negative MSM. The distinction in pooled HCV prevalence between HIV-positive and HIV-negative MSM was highest within the WHO European Region, adopted by the WHO Western Pacific and the Americas areas. This elevated HCV prevalence amongst HIV-positive MSM accounts for a lot of the extra HCV burden noticed amongst MSM relative to the final inhabitants.

Injecting drug use is a serious contributor to HCV transmission globally and can also be an vital threat issue for HCV transmission amongst MSM populations. MSM with a historical past of injecting drug use are considerably extra likley to be HCV-positive than MSM who haven’t injected medication. The pooled HCV prevalence was considerably larger in MSM who had ever (30.2%, 95% CI: 22.0-39.0) or at the moment (45.6%, 95% CI: 21.6 – 70.7) injected medication when in comparison with those that had by no means injected (2.7%, 95% CI: 2.0-3.6).

“Reaching and supporting MSM who also inject drugs with adapted and effective prevention, testing and treatment services is critical,” says Dr Niklas Luhmann, a Technical Officer within the WHO Global HIV, Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections Programmes.

Global knowledge on HCV incidence amongst MSM was additionally reviewed. A complete of 46 research that reported on HCV incidence in MSM had been included. The evaluation discovered that charges of latest infections are highest amongst HIV-positive MSM with a pooled HCV incidence of 8.46 (95%CI: 6.78-10.32) per 1,000 person-years and in a number of current research of HIV-negative MSM who take pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) (pooled HCV incidence of 14.80 (95% CI: 9.65-20.95) per 1,000 person-years).  

This larger HCV incidence seen amongst MSM taking PrEP could also be attributable to a number of components: MSM who selected PrEP usually accomplish that as a result of they’ve self-identified larger HIV threat and limitations to constant condom use. They may additionally have larger sexual mixing with HIV-positive MSM who, as famous above, have a better HCV prevalence than HIV-negative MSM. Furthermore, within the research reviewed, larger threat HIV-negative MSM who select PrEP had been discovered to have a excessive prevalence of HCV viremia earlier than PrEP initiation. This larger threat for HCV seen in HIV-negative males taking PrEP could subsequently pre-date PrEP use relatively than relate to modifications in sexual behaviour and condom use after PrEP initiation.

“We know that we need to improve access to prevention, testing and treatment for highly affected and sometimes marginalized populations to reach our goals of hepatitis elimination,” mentioned Dr Meg Doherty, Director of the WHO Global HIV, Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections Programmes. “This first international systematic assessment of HCV prevalence and incidence in MSM populations highlights that extra efforts are wanted to assist entry to HIV and HCV prevention, testing and remedy for MSM at larger threat. Existing HIV and PrEP programmes for MSM ought to embody HCV testing and remedy and provide tailored prevention interventions“.


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