BACKGROUND: There is a need for systematic reviews and meta-analyses to synthesize the epidemiology, and the riskfactors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) among HIV-coinfected and HIV negative men who have sex with men (MSM).
METHODS: A meta-analysis of 28 studies was carried out by pooling HCV incidence data of HIV-coinfected and HIV negative MSM. Differences in incidence outcome depending on the prospective or retrospective nature of the individual studies were investigated.
RESULTS: The pooled incidence of HCV in MSM was 6.3 per 1000 person-years (95% CI 5.0-7.5). The overall estimated incidence was 19-fold higher in HIV positive compared to HIV negative MSM living in resource-rich countries. This result was confirmed when the analysis was restricted to high-quality studies. Factors associated with an increased risk for incident HCV included behavioural factors (sexual risk behaviour and recreational drug use) as well as biological characteristics (HIV coinfection and a recent history of syphilis).
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, incident HCV predominantly affects HIV positive MSM. The incidence rate varied largely between studies, factors such as study design might play an important role.