Viral hepatitis among men who have sex with men, epidemiology and public health consequences

Euro Surveill. 2009 Nov 26;14(47):19421. doi: 10.2807/ese.14.47.19421-en.


Viral hepatitis causes major disease burden worldwide, due to the chronic hepatitis sequelae: cirrhosis and primary liver cancer. Transmission of viral hepatitis is a problem not only in low-income countries, but also in high-income ones where viral hepatitis is a frequently occurring infection among men who have sex with men (MSM). Although the transmission routes of the three main hepatitis viruses, A, B and C, differ, MSM mainly acquire viral hepatitis during sexual contact. Vaccination programmes (only available for hepatitis A and B), raising awareness, and screening can be used to prevent transmission. However, despite the introduction of such methods in many high-income countries, the spread of viral hepatitis among MSM is still ongoing. This paper provides an overview of sexually acquired hepatitis A, B, and C among MSM in high-income countries, using recent insights obtained through molecular epidemiology, with the aim to raise awareness, improve vaccination coverage, and stimulate prevention programs.

MeSH terms

  • Bisexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • Comorbidity
  • Developed Countries
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / transmission
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / virology
  • Hepatovirus / classification
  • Hepatovirus / genetics
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Public Health
  • Risk-Taking
  • Vaccination
  • Viral Hepatitis Vaccines


  • Viral Hepatitis Vaccines