A recent study, published in the journal HIV Medicine, indicated that, between 2008 and 2014, every 1 in 20 patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) was also coinfected with HIV infection either prior to or within 6 months after HCV diagnosis. Majority of HIV/HCV coinfections were among men who have sex with men (MSM), with numbers higher than that found in person who injected drugs.
Researchers linked data for adults with a current HCV infection reported to the Public Health England (PHE) sentinel surveillance of blood-borne viruses to PHE national HIV database.
Between 2008 and 2014, 5.0% of adults with a current HCV infection were diagnosed with HIV coinfection either prior to or within 6 months of HCV diagnosis. Most frequent routes of HIV transmission among coinfected patients were through sex between men (65.3%), injecting drug use (22.0%) and through heterosexual contact (12.2%). Being men (aOR, 3.29; 95% CI, 2.60-4.16) and persons of black ethnicity (aOR, 3.19; 95% CI, 1.36-7.46) were associated with more likelihood of current HCV infection to be diagnosed as HIV coinfection. Being older adults (aOR, 0.85/10-year age increase; 95% CI, 0.79-0.92) and persons of Asian ethnicity (aOR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.41-0.86) were associated with less likelihood of being diagnosed as coinfection.
Authors commented: “Our findings support the British HIV Association guidelines, which indicates that persons with HIV infection should be tested regularly for HCV.” Authors call for regular testing and safer sex campaigns including awareness of HCV transmission among MSM living with HIV.