Friday, June 5, 2009
New Hepatitis C Epidemic Outbreaks in HIV-Positive Gay Men
Outbreaks of sexually transmitted hepatitis C infection have been reported among HIV-positive gay men. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent serious liver disease, but too few doctors notice the warning signs.
via Treatment Action Group, by Tracy Swan
A new epidemic of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is on the rise. In the last few years, outbreaks of HCV have been reported among HIV-positive gay men in the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, and the United States. Many of these cases involve sexual transmission and are associated with group sex and recreational use of noninjection drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine. There have been no reports of an HCV epidemic among HIV-positive women.
When HCV infection is detected and treated early, during the acute phase (within six months of infection), the likelihood of successfully curing the infection is greater than when treatment is begun later. However, acute HCV infection often goes undiagnosed because there are usually no symptoms; there is no specific test to differentiate acute from chronic HCV. The rising number of acute HCV infections in HIV-positive men calls for increased vigilance among doctors and better efforts to provide information to gay men, who are most at risk.
Read the rest.
Download a guide to Hep C for people living with HIV via the UK's George House Trust here.
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