Background: Sexually transmitted acute hepatitis C among HIV-positive homosexual men has been noted as an emerging epidemic.
Methods: Forty-seven patients with mainly sexually acquired, acute hepatitis C were enrolled in this prospective, multicentre trial, and 36 of these patients were treated within the acute phase of hepatitis C infection with pegylated interferon (peg-IFN) therapy.
Results: Early treatment resulted in sustained virological response in 61% of patients. Peg-IFN alone showed similar treatment response rates and lower incidence of anaemia compared with peg-IFN+ribavirin combination therapy. Higher treatment response rates were observed in patients treated over 48 weeks compared with 24 weeks.
Conclusions: Treatment of hepatitis C in HIV-positive individuals in the acute phase of infection leads to high rates of sustained virological response. Optimal time and mode of therapy have yet to be defined.