The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a target to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat by 2030. This has been made possible by a newer form of treatment – direct acting antivirals. This treatment can cure infection and reduce the risk of liver complications. Men who have sex with men (MSM) living with HIV represent an important risk group for hepatitis C infection, with an estimated prevalence as high as 39%. While many in this group are successfully treated for hepatitis C, they frequently become re-infected later.
The studyAs part of the Swiss HCVree trial, MSM living with HIV and hepatitis C received direct-acting antivirals for hepatitis C. Men reporting sexual risk behaviour also received behavioural counselling aimed at teaching risk reduction strategies. Of those who had received counselling, a subset of 17 participants were interviewed six to 12 months later, regarding their views on the cure, the behavioural intervention, their risk behaviours and any subsequent changes. The results were published in BMC Infectious Diseases.
direct-acting antiviral (DAA)
anxietyThe men had a median age of 44, the majority were White (94%) and nearly half were college educated (47%). The median time since HIV diagnosis was 10.9 years, while the median time since hepatitis C diagnosis was 1.6 years. Most men had had one hepatitis C infection (76%) and had never been treated for it prior to participating in the trial (59%), while six of the men had received prior interferon treatment and one had received direct acting antivirals previously.
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