People with HIV who have recently contracted hepatitis C virus (HCV) stand an excellent chance of achieving a cure of the latter virus with eight weeks of Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir) treatment, aidsmap reports. This is according to a recent small study of HIV-positive men who likely predominantly contracted hep C sexually.

Researchers from the SWIFT-C trial enrolled 27 HIV-positive men, who had a median age of 46, at multiple sites in the United States. The men were all acutely infected with hep C, meaning they had a new positive HCV viral load test within six months of a previous negative test or recently had detectable hep C plus an elevation in their liver enzymes.

More than 80 percent of the participants reported they had never injected drugs, so it was presumed they likely contracted HCV sexually. All the men had genotype 1 of hep C, except one who had genotype 4. Every participant was on antiretroviral treatment for HIV and had an undetectable viral load of that virus.

The investigators waited until 12 weeks after the estimated time of hep C infection to start the men on Harvoni for eight weeks in order to see whether the men would experience spontaneous clearance of the virus, as occurs in about a quarter of cases.

All the men achieved a sustained virologic response 12 weeks after completing therapy (SVR12, considered a cure).

Harvoni was generally safe and well tolerated.

To read the aidsmap article, click here.

To read the conference abstract, click here.