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HIV-Positive Men Who Bareback Should Have More Frequent Hep C Testing

Some key points from article:

A new study has found that 75 percent of new hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in HIV-positive men occurred in those with no history of injection drug use (IDU)

Because of shared transmission routes, up to 30 percent of people with HIV in the United States also have chronic HCV infection. Chronic liver disease is a leading cause of death in people with HIV, and people coinfected with both HIV and HCV are also at a higher risk of death from a number of non-liver-related diseases, including kidney disease.

The majority of HCV cases in the United States are attributable to injection drug use, but there have been reports of HCV transmission in MSM who have no IDU history. Studies of these cases have suggested that HCV risk in these individuals is associated with various sexual practices, including unprotected anal intercourse, the use of sex toys, multiple partners and fisting.

In those studies, barebacking, coinfection with syphilis, and sex that is traumatic to the anus were highly associated with HCV infection in those with no IDU history.

Regular screening for HCV is crucial for two reasons.
1. Many who develop chronic HCV infections do not exhibit symptoms until they are quite ill years later.
2. When people are able to catch their HCV infection early—within a few weeks or months after exposure—HCV treatment is far more likely to work.

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