HCV is on many people’s minds here at the 2006 IAC for two important reasons. First of all, because HCV and HIV are spread in many of the same ways, a large number of people are co-infected with the two viruses at once. Second, because HCV causes liver failure, it magnifies the hepatoxicity of antiretroviral drugs.
I had the opportunity to attend a session on HCV yesterday, which covered several HCV-related studies. These studies ranged from HCV prevalence in Zanzibar to HCV risk factors among incarcerated Canadian youths. The information covered was all fascinating, but it was a comment from a member of the audience that really caught my attention. The young man was involved with the Committee of 10,000, an HCV advocacy organization from California. I regret not having a voice recorder, but his question as I remember it was this:
We know that the people at risk for HCV are the same as those at risk for HIV. We also know that HCV kills almost as many people as HIV, and infects more than three times as many. With those things in mind, why are we not using our thousands of HIV testing sites to also offer screening and testing for HCV?
What do you think?
I responded in the comment section, and I'm cross-posting here -- after the jump.