People living with both HIV and hepatitis C in Spain saw a significant decrease of co-infection thanks to widespread use of direct-acting antivirals, reports AIDS Map.
The announcement was made by Juan Berenguer of Hospital Gregorio Maranon, Madrid, at the 16th European AIDS Conference in Milan. Berenguer shared research showing that since 2009, people living with HIV and hep C saw a decrease of co-infection from one-third to 11.7 percent in late 2016.
Additionally, from 2015 to 2016, the prevalence of people living with both hep C and HIV fell by 47 percent — from 22 to 11.6 percent in that short period of time.
Research was carried out by the GeSIDA network of Spanish researchers by sampling cases from 43 HIV treatment centers across the country in proportion to all records of people living with HIV and hep C. These samples were then compared to previous samples from 2002, 2009, and 2015.
Spain’s success is due in large part to their health care system providing direct-acting antiviral treatment for hep C to people with at least an F2 grade fibrosis since early 2016.
In Southern Europe alone, only half of people diagnosed with HIV and hep C have started treatment to cure hep C. In Central and Eastern Europe, that number is less than 40 percent, according to numbers presented by Sarah Amele of University College London at EACS 2017.