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Reinfection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is low after successful treatment among people receiving opioid agonist therapy (OAT), according to a study published online Aug. 9 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Jason Grebely, Ph.D., from The Kirby Institute in Sydney, and colleagues examined the rate of HCV reinfection for three years after successful treatment among people receiving OAT at 55 clinical trial sites in 13 countries. A total of 199 participants aged 18 years and older with chronic HCV infection with genotypes 1, 4, or 6, receiving stable OAT were enrolled in the long-term extension study.
The researchers found that the rate of HCV reinfection was 1.7 per 100 person-years. People with recent injecting drug use had a higher rate of reinfection (1.9 per 100 person-years). At the six-month follow-up, 59 and 21 percent of participants reported ongoing drug use and injecting drug use, respectively, which remained stable during three years of follow-up.
“Reinfection with HCV was highest in the period immediately after treatment and among people with ongoing injecting drug use and needle-syringe sharing,” the authors write. “Further research is needed on interventions to retain populations of people who inject drugs in care and ensure that either HCV reinfection can be prevented or that reinfections can be detected quickly with retreatment to prevent the risk for transmission to others.”
The study was funded Merck Sharpe & Dohme Corp.