Incidence and prevalence of hepatitis C virus among HIV-negative gay and bisexual men using HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): A systematic review and meta-analysis


BACKGROUND: Gay and bisexual men using HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) are at increased risk for sexually transmissible infections. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) risk among PrEP users is less clear. We explored HCV prevalence and incidence among cohorts of gay and bisexual men using PrEP and sources of heterogeneity across studies. METHODS: This was a systematic review and meta-analysis of open-label PrEP studies to April 2022 reporting HCV prevalence at baseline or incidence during follow-up among gay and bisexual men using PrEP. Pooled prevalence and incidence estimates were calculated using random-effects meta-analysis, and subgroup analyses were performed by study- and country-level characteristics, including availability of HCV direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy at time of study. RESULTS: Twenty-four studies from 9 countries were included, with a total sample of 24 733 gay and bisexual men. Pooled HCV antibody baseline prevalence was 0.97% (95% CI, 0.63%–1.31%), and pooled HCV RNA baseline prevalence was 0.38% (95% CI, 0.19%–0.56%). Among 19 studies reporting HCV incidence, incidence ranged from 0.0 to 2.93/100 person-years (py); the pooled estimate was 0.83/100py (95% CI, 0.55–1.11). HCV incidence was higher in 12 studies that began follow-up before broad DAA availability (1.27/100py) than in 8 studies that began follow-up after broad DAA availability (0.34/100py) and higher in studies in Europe compared with North America and Australia. CONCLUSIONS: Early reports of high HCV incidence among PrEP-using cohorts likely reflect enrollment of individuals based on specific risk-based eligibility criteria for smaller studies and enrollment before DAA scale-up. In contexts where both DAAs and PrEP have been implemented at scale, studies report lower HCV incidence. PrEP-specific HCV testing guidelines should be guided by local epidemiology


Traeger MW, Harney BL, Sacks-Davis R, van Santen DK, Cornelisse VJ, Wright EJ, Hellard ME, Doyle JS, Stoové MA




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • Men who have sex with men
    • General HIV- population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Prevention
  • Prevention
    • Biomedical interventions
  • Co-infections
    • Hepatitis B, C


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