Treatment of acute hepatitis C in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients: the HEPAIG study.

Infectious Diseases Department, University Hospital, and University of Burgungy, Dijon, France.
Hepatology (Impact Factor: 12). 09/2010; 52(6):1915-21. DOI: 10.1002/hep.23959
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Acute hepatitis C continues to be a concern in men who have sex with men (MSM), and its optimal management has yet to be established. In this study, the clinical, biological, and therapeutic data of 53 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected MSM included in a multicenter prospective study on acute hepatitis C in 2006-2007 were retrospectively collected and analyzed. The mean hepatitis C virus (HCV) viral load at diagnosis was 5.8 ± 1.1 log(10) IU/mL (genotype 4, n = 28; genotype 1, n = 14, genotype 3, n = 7). The cumulative rates of spontaneous HCV clearance were 11.0% and 16.5% 3 and 6 months after diagnosis, respectively. Forty patients were treated, 38 of whom received pegylated interferon and ribavirin. The mean duration of HCV therapy was 39 ± 17 weeks (24 ± 4 weeks in 14 cases). On treatment, 18/36 (50.0%; 95% confidence interval 34.3-65.7) patients had undetectable HCV RNA at week 4 (RVR), and 32/39 (82.1%; 95 confidence interval 70.0-94.1) achieved sustained virological response (SVR). SVR did not correlate with pretreatment parameters, including HCV genotype, but correlated with RVR (predictive positive value of 94.4%) and with effective duration of HCV therapy (64.3% for 24 ± 4 weeks versus 92.0% for longer treatment; P = 0.03). Conclusion: The low rate of spontaneous clearance and the high SVR rates argue for early HCV therapy following diagnosis of acute hepatitis C in HIV-infected MSM. Pegylated interferon and ribavirin seem to be the best option. The duration of treatment should be modulated according to RVR, with a 24-week course for patients presenting RVR and a 48-week course for those who do not, irrespectively of HCV genotype.

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    ABSTRACT: The HEPAIG study was conducted to better understand Hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission among human immuno-deficiency (HIV)-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) and assess incidence of HCV infection among this population in France. Acute HCV infection defined by anti-HCV or HCV ribonucleic acid (RNA) positivity within one year of documented anti-HCV negativity was notified among HIV-infected MSM followed up in HIV/AIDS clinics from a nationwide sampling frame. HIV and HCV infection characteristics, HCV potential exposures and sexual behaviour were collected by the physicians and via self-administered questionnaires. Phylogenetic analysis of the HCV-NS5B region was conducted. HCV incidence was 48/10 000 [95% Confidence Interval (CI):43-54] and 36/10 000 [95% CI: 30-42] in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Among the 80 men enrolled (median age: 40 years), 55% were HIV-diagnosed before 2000, 56% had at least one sexually transmitted infection in the year before HCV diagnosis; 55% were HCV-infected with genotype 4 (15 men in one 4d-cluster), 32.5% with genotype 1 (three 1a-clusters); five men were HCV re-infected; in the six-month preceding HCV diagnosis, 92% reported having casual sexual partners sought online (75.5%) and at sex venues (79%), unprotected anal sex (90%) and fisting (65%); using recreational drugs (62%) and bleeding during sex (55%). This study emphasizes the role of multiple unprotected sexual practices and recreational drugs use during sex in the HCV emergence in HIV-infected MSM. It becomes essential to adapt prevention strategies and inform HIV-infected MSM with recent acute HCV infection on risk of re-infection and on risk-reduction strategies.
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