Prevalence of hepatitis C infection, screening and associated factors among men who have sex with men attending gay venues: a cross-sectional survey (PREVAGAY), France, 2015

Publié le 11 Avril 2019
Mis à jour le 5 juillet 2019

Background: over the last 20 years, Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection prevalence has dramatically increased among HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) in many countries worldwide. It is suspected that this increase is primarily driven by sexual behaviours linked to blood exposure. Monitoring these behaviours is crucial to understand the drivers of the epidemic. This study assessed the prevalence of chronic HCV infection among MSM attending gay venues and associated chronic HCV risk factors. HCV screening and associated factors were described. Methods: the cross-sectional survey PREVAGAY, based on time-location sampling, was conducted in 2015 among MSM attending gay venues in 5 French metropolitan cities. A self-administered questionnaire was completed and capillary whole blood on dried blood spots (DBS) collected. Possible factors associated with chronic HCV prevalence and with HCV screening in the previous year were investigated using Poisson regression. Results: chronic HCV infection prevalence from DBS analysis was 0.7% [IC95%: 0.3-1.5] in the study's 2645 participants and was 3.0% [1.5-5.8] in HIV-positive MSM. It was significantly higher in those who reported the following: (lifetime) slamming (with or without the sharing of injection equipment); (during the previous year) fisting and chemsex, unprotected anal intercourse with casual partners, using gay websites and/or of mobile-based GPS applications, and having more than 10 sexual partners. Only 41.3% [38.2-44.5] of the participants reported HCV screening during the previous year. Screening was significantly more frequent in MSM under 30 years of age, those who were HIV-positive, those vaccinated against hepatitis B and meningococcus C, and those who reported the following (during the previous year): more than 10 sexual partners, at least one sexually transmitted infection and fisting. Conclusion: chronic HCV infection prevalence in MSM attending gay venues was significantly higher in HIV-positive MSM and in those with risky sexual behaviours. Reflecting current screening recommendations for specific populations, previous HCV screening was more frequent in HIV-positive individuals and those with risky sexual behaviours. Nevertheless, HCV screening coverage needs to be improved in these populations. Comprehensive medical management, which combines screening and linkage to care with prevention strategies, is essential to control HCV among MSM.

Auteur : Vaux Sophie, Chevaliez Stéphane, Saboni Leïla, Sauvage Claire, Sommen Cécile, Barin Francis, Alexandre Antonio, Jauffret-Roustide Marie, Lot Florence, Velter Annie
BMC Infectious Diseases, 2019, vol. 19, n°. 1, p. 1-14