The cure of hepatitis C it does not protect for future infections. A study carried out in the Community of Madrid with data of people who were infected – and diagnosed – by HIV and the liver virus has shown that about 0.7% returned to contract hepatitis C shortly after finishing the treatment that they received. cured of the disease (the new antivirals began to be administered in November 2014 and the study closed the report on December 31, 2018). The work has published Magazine AIDS. Both viruses appear frequently simultaneously in people since the transmission routes are the same: currently, unprotected sex and share syringes (There used to be cases of transfusions or transplants, but these are easily avoided now). Read more about treating AIDS as a virus.
The sample collects data from 21 of the 25 hospitals in the community, and is a study that reviews the cases of people who received a cure for hepatitis C since November 2014, explains Juan Berenguer, of the Infectious Service of the Gregorio Marañón Hospital. of Madrid and first signatory of the work. When the data are broken down by transmission, it can be seen that the percentages of reinfected persons vary enormously: of the 1,636 people who were included in the work, 0.34% of those who defined themselves as drug users were reinfected (5 of 1,459 ) and 6.78% (12 of 177) of those who were included in the category of men who have sex with men (MSM).
Of the traditional drug users who reacquired hepatitis C, four admitted that they had injected later, and one died before the data collection was finished.
Among MSM, the rate is close to “the highest in Europe,” says Berenguer. The 12 that were re-infected reported that they had had unprotected sex with several couples, 7 of them indicated that they had participated in prolonged sex sessions due to the use of narcotics and generally in groups (which in the slang it is called chemsex) and four resorted to injected drugs (mephedrone or methamphetamine) during relationships (slam) Several presented other sexually transmitted diseases. This last practice indicates that the distinction between the transmission routes between drug users and men with gay sex is blurring.
Berenguer explains that there has been some case of a person who in the four years of the study has been reinfected by the hepatitis C virus two or more times. This could lead you to think if it is worth giving them a treatment that, although its price has dropped a lot (currently it is administered for just over 10,000 euros), it still has a cost for public health. But the doctor says that, apart from offering advice and help to change their behavior, the experience of countries such as the Netherlands and Switzerland shows that “treat everyone, these cases included, in the end comes to mind.”
This is due to a fact that the researchers have detected in the work: by increasing the number of people treated (in Spain they are already more than 120,000, including those with HIV, and those that do not, according to data from the National Federation of Patients and Liver Transplants, FNETH), the proportion of reinfections decreases. That is, these 17 people are not distributed equally in the four years, but there are more at the beginning. And that has a simple explanation: although they maintain risky behaviors (some even during the time they are receiving treatment for hepatitis C, which results in the median time between healing and the detection of relapse in the infection of 15 weeks, less than four months), the probability of coinciding with other people with the active virus decreases as the cured ones increase. That is why it advocates that it be diagnosed and treated from the moment of diagnosis.