Objectives: To determine the incidence of diagnosed newly acquired hepatitis C (HCV) in HIV positive men who have sex with men (MSM) across London and Brighton in order to inform public health interventions.
Methods: Cases were defined as MSM attending London and Brighton HIV/genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics from January 2002 to June 2006, with HCV PCR RNA or antibody positive, and a negative HCV test in the previous three years. We examined the yearly number of cases and HCV screening policy in MSM. A negative binomial regression model was used to estimate HCV incidence density rate ratio and 95% confidence intervals.
Results: 20/38 clinics provided information, covering 84% of HIV+MSM workload in London and 100% in Brighton. The estimated overall incidence was 9.05 per 1000 HIV+MSM patient-years. It increased from 6.86 per 1000 in 2002 to 11.58 per 1000 during January-June 2006. Incidence at clinics ranged from 0 to 15.4 (median 6.52) per 1000 HIV+MSM patient-years. There was some evidence of difference in the incidence and trend (p=0.02) in each clinic. The average annual rise in incidence of HCV was of 20% (95% CI 4% to 39%, p=0.001). There was little evidence of such transmission among MSM with negative or unknown HIV status.
Conclusions: HCV incidence clearly increased among HIV+MSM in London and Brighton during January 2002-June 2006. Prospective enhanced surveillance of HCV in MSM, including of HIV status and behavioural risk factors, is recommended to help inform control measures and better determine frequency of transmission in all MSM.
- hepatitis C