Using Hepatitis C Prevalence to Estimate HIV Epidemic Potential among People Who Inject Drugs in the Middle East and North Africa

October 2015 - Epidemiology

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Mumtaz, G., Weiss, H., Vickerman, P., et al. AIDS (August 2015), 29(13): 1701–1710, doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000761.

The authors of this study examined the association between HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among people who inject drugs (PWID) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and used HCV prevalence to estimate the HIV epidemic potential among PWID. They based their analysis on data from a recent systematic review assessing the status of the HIV epidemic among PWID in 23 MENA countries. Their analysis showed that HCV prevalence was not associated with HIV in low-level HIV epidemics, but was a significant predictor of HIV prevalence in settings where the HIV epidemic is emerging or established. In emerging epidemics, HCV was significantly associated with the highest increase in HIV prevalence compared with other epidemic states; country and study site were also significant predictors. In established epidemics, HCV prevalence was the only predictor of HIV. The authors concluded that HCV prevalence could be a predictor of future endemic HIV prevalence, and predicted further growth of the HIV epidemic in MENA countries. They also stated that their methodology can identify PWID populations that should be prioritized for HIV prevention interventions.

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