Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–positive gay and bisexual men (GBM) in Australia are well engaged in care. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination target of an 80% reduction in incidence by 2030 may be reachable ahead of time in this population.
We predicted the effect of treatment and behavioral changes on HCV incidence among HIV-positive GBM up to 2025 using a HCV transmission model parameterized with Australian data. We assessed the impact of changes in behavior that facilitate HCV transmission in the context of different rates of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) use.
HCV incidence in our model increased from 0.7 per 100 person-years in 2000 to 2.5 per 100 person-years in 2016 and had the same trajectory as previously reported clinical data. If the proportion of eligible (HCV RNA positive) patients using DAAs stays at 65% per year between 2016 and 2025, with high-risk sexual behavior and injecting drug use remaining at current levels, HCV incidence would drop to 0.4 per 100 person-years (85% decline from 2016). In the same treatment scenario but with substantial increases in risk behavior, HCV incidence would drop to 0.6 per 100 person-years (76% decline). If the proportion of eligible patients using DAAs dropped from 65% per year in 2016 to 20% per year in 2025 and risk behavior did not change, HCV incidence would drop to 0.7 per 100 person-years (70% reduction).
Reaching the WHO HCV elimination target by 2025 among HIV-positive GBM in Australia is achievable.