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CDC: Sexual Transmission of Hepatitis C Evaluated

High-risk sex likely mode of transmission in HIV-infected men who have sex with men

FRIDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) should be screened for hepatitis C virus (HCV), especially those who engage in high-risk sexual behavior, according to a report in the July 22 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In a matched case-control study and viral analysis, a total of 74 HIV-infected MSM with recently acquired HCV infection and no reported history of injection-drug use were evaluated to assess the role of HCV sexual transmission.

The report revealed that high-risk sexual behavior was the most likely mode of transmission among these men. The data also suggested networks of transmission among these men, as phylogenetic analyses revealed five clusters of closely related HCV variants.

"These findings, and those elsewhere, suggest that sexual transmission of HCV can occur undetected among HIV-infected MSM in the absence of injection-drug use," the authors write. "Health care providers should consider HCV testing for HIV-infected MSM with high-risk sexual behaviors or concomitant ulcerative sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., syphilis and herpes simplex virus)."

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