Increase in HCV incidence among men who have sex with men in Amsterdam most likely caused by sexual transmission

Thijs J.W. Van De Laar*, Akke K. Van Der Bij, Maria Prins, Sylvia M. Bruisten, Kees Brinkman, Thomas A. Ruys, Jan T.M. Van Der Meer, Henry J.C. De Vries, Jan Willem Mulder, Michiel Van Agtmael, Suzanne Jurriaans, Katja C. Wolthers, Roel A. Coutinho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We retrospectively screened 1836 men who have sex with men (MSM) participating in the Amsterdam Cohort Studies (1984-2003) for hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies. HCV incidence was 0.18/100 person-years (PY) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive MSM (8/4408 PY [95% confidence interval {CI}, 0.08-0.36]) but was 0/100 PY in MSM without HIV (0/7807 PY [95% CI, 0.00-0.05]). After 2000, HCV incidence among HIV-positive men increased 10-fold to 0.87/100 PY (5/572 PY [95% CI, 0.28-2.03]). Additional hospital cases (n = 34) showed that MSM in Amsterdam who acquired HCV infection after 2000 reported high rates of ulcerative sexually transmitted infections (59%) and rough sexual techniques (56%), denied injection drug use, and were infected mainly with the difficult-to-treat HCV genotypes 1 (56%) and 4 (36%). Phylogenetic analysis showed 3 monophyletic clusters of MSM-specific HCV strains. The emergence of an MSM-specific transmission network suggests that HIV-positive MSM with high-risk sexual behaviors are at risk for sexually acquired HCV. Targeted prevention and routine HCV screening among HIV-positive MSM is needed to deter the spread of HCV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-238
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2007

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