The rate of new cases of hepatitis C virus (HCV) among HIV-positive European men who have sex with men (MSM) appears stable, with variations by geographical region and age, Healio reports.

There is an emerging epidemic of sexually transmitted HCV among HIV-positive MSM in Western nations. Although HIV-negative MSM also contract HCV sexually, they do so at lower rates.

Publishing their findings in the Journal of Hepatology, researchers analyzed 1990 to 2014 data from 16 cohorts in the European CASCADE Collaboration concerning 7,864 men who contracted HIV through sex with men.  

During the study period, the infection rate apparently rose in Northern Europe and remained stable in Southern Europe. In Western Europe, the infection rate rose from 1.4 percent per year in 2006 to 2.3 percent per year in 2009 and declined to 0.9 percent per year in 2013.

Broken down by age, the HCV infection rate was highest and relatively uniform among those younger than 35 in Western Europe, increased up to age 35 in Northern and Southern Europe and declined after that age in all of the regions.

Having a higher HIV viral load was associated with a higher risk of HCV. Those who were recently infected with HIV were 80 percent more likely to contract HCV than those living with HIV longer-term.

To read the Healio article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.