Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases:
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Low Incidence and Prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Sexually Active Non-Intravenous Drug-Using Adults, San Francisco, 1997–2000

Hammer, Gwendolyn P. PhD, MSN*†; Kellogg, Timothy A. MA*; McFarland, Willi C. MD, PhD*; Wong, Ernest BS*; Louie, Brian BA*; Williams, Ian PhD‡; Dilley, James MD§; Page-Shafer, Kimberly PhD∥; Klausner, Jeffrey D. MD, MPH*

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Abstract

Background: The rate of sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is debated.

Goal: The goal was to measure the risk of sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in a sexually active population.

Study Design: Sexual behaviors and HCV antibody status were measured in persons seeking repeat HIV testing in San Francisco from October 1997 through March 2000.

Results: Among 981 repeat testers, the prevalence of HCV antibody was 2.5%. Among men who have sex with men who denied intravenous drug use (n = 746), factors associated with HCV antibody positivity include age greater than 50 years (odds ratio [OR], 8.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.6–27.7), HIV infection (OR, 5.7; 95% CI, 1.6–20.6), and being nonwhite (OR, 3.3; 95% CI, 1.1–10.0). HCV antibody positivity was not associated with sexual risk behaviors. In 576.6 person-years of observation, no new HCV seroconversions occurred (incidence = 0 per 100 person-year; 95% CI, 0–.6), whereas 6 new herpes simplex virus-2 infections (2.8 per 100 person-years) and 10 new HIV infections (1.8 per 100 person-years) occurred.

Conclusion: The absence of new HCV infections in this sample supports the hypothesis that the risk of sexual transmission of HCV is low.

© Copyright 2003 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association

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