Introduction Disparate findings persist in the literature regarding the sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and the role of HIV/other STIs. Therefore we analysed the epidemiology and risk factors for HCV infection among a non-intravenous drug using, sexually active population in Peru.
Methods High-risk men who have sex with men (MSM) and transwomen (TW) recruited from two STI clinics completed a behavioural survey on substance use and sexual risk taking in the last 3 months. Hepatitis C diagnosis was determined by detection of Anti-HCV antibodies using EIA UMELISA PLUS (Specificity: 99.93% Sensitivity: 100% Tecnosuma, Cuba). In addition to HIV testing, STI screening included rectal gonorrhoea/chlamydia (NAAT) and syphilis (RPR titer ≥1:16). Chi-square tests were used to compare differences in characteristics between HCV-infected and negative individuals.
Results Among 310 MSM and 89 TW (median age30 years, IQR: 18–58), 4% (15/399) were HCV-infected. Recent condomless anal intercourse was reported by 76% of the sample (292/393). Although more condomless anal intercourse was reported among HCV-infected vs. negative individuals (93% vs.74%) the difference was not significant (p = 0.107). Illicit substance use for the cohort was low with 13% reporting recent cocaine use, which also was not significantly different among HCV-infected vs. negative individuals (27% vs. 13%, p = 0.120). HIV positivity was 31% for the sample (124/401) and was associated with HCV infection vs. non-infection (53% vs. 30%, p = 0.054). When comparing HCV-infected to negative individuals, neither rectal STI diagnosis (27% vs. 20%, p = 0.55) nor recent syphilis diagnosis (47% vs. 36%, p = 0.41) were significantly associated.
Conclusion The findings for this cohort in Peru did uncover an association between HCV infection and concurrent HIV infection however such associations for sexual risk behaviours and other STI diagnoses were not found. Prospective data documenting HCV seroconversion among a larger sample is needed to better understand the contribution of sexual transmission to HCV infection.
Disclosure of interest statement This data for this abstract was obtained from an NIH-funded study (1R01AI099727). Hepatitis tests were donated however the donating company did not contribute to the conception of this study or participate in the analysis/interpretation of the data in this abstract.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.