Study Examines Incident Hepatitis C Infection in HIV-Infected Men
February 1, 2011- Hepatitis C is a leading cause of illness and death for individuals infected with
both HIV and hepatitis C. Recent reports from around the world demonstrate that hepatitis C is emerging as a
sexually transmitted infection among HIV-infected men who do not inject drugs. However, many HIV-infected
men do not receive continued screening for hepatitis C throughout their HIV care. Hepatitis C symptoms
often do not manifest themselves until the later stages of the illness, so people are not as likely to
know that they have become infected and hence need further testing and treatment. Researchers
examined the role of later acquisition of hepatitis C in HIV patients in a new study published
in Clinical Infectious Diseases , which is currently available online .
In the study, 1,800 HIV-infected men had an initial negative hepatitis C blood test result, with at least
one subsequent test. At the time of their initial negative hepatitis C results, 94 percent were receiving
antiretroviral therapy for HIV and 6 percent reported current or prior injection drug use.
Ultimately, 36 patients were subsequently diagnosed with hepatitis C. Of those, 25 percent reported
an injection drug use history, although 75 percent reported no current or previous injection drug use.
"Screening HIV-infected patients for hepatitis C only once upon entry into HIV care is not
sufficient," according to study author Lynn E. Taylor, MD, of Brown University in Providence, R. I. "The standard
of care needs to change. HIV-infected persons should have access to ongoing screening for hepatitis C. Doctors and
patients may not be aware of or freely discuss all risk behaviors that may lead to hepatitis C infection. These
behaviors are often stigmatized. Patients may not feel comfortable discussing these risk factors nor may
they be aware of all the ways in which hepatitis C may be transmitted via blood."
Founded in 1904, The Journal of Infectious Diseases is the premier publication in the Western Hemisphere
for original research on the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious diseases; on the microbes that cause
them; and on disorders of host immune mechanisms. Articles in JID include research results from microbiology,
immunology, epidemiology, and related disciplines. JID is published under the auspices of the
Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). Based in Arlington, Va., IDSA is a
professional society representing more than 9,000 physicians and scientists
who specialize in infectious diseases. For more information,