Projects

Eliminating hepatitis C transmission by enhancing care and treatment among HIV co-infected individuals (The co-EC Study)

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a significant health issue among individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and has been associated with more rapid progression to HCV-related liver disease and increased risk for cirrhosis and liver cancer. Hepatitis C is a major cause of hospital admissions and is a leading cause of death among HIV-infected persons. In Victoria Australia, the highest prevalence of HCV/HIV co-infection is in gay and bisexual men.

The advent of directly acting antiviral (DAA) treatment provides us with a unique opportunity to increase the number of people accessing hepatitis C treatment. Importantly it is likely that the treatment could be administered in the primary health care setting improving treatment capacity and accessibility, whilst potentially reducing treatment costs.

This study involves an open label, non-randomised clinical trial of hepatitis C treatment for people with HIV coinfection. Individuals who are aged at least 18 years (regardless of sex), with HIV infection and evidence of chronic HCV infection, and who meet routine clinical care criteria for commencing HCV treatment are eligible to participate. Treatment will involve any combination of hepatitis C antiviral therapy approved for use in Australia appropriate for the participants’ hepatitis C genotype. All participants will receive open label hepatitis C treatment selected at the decision of their treating clinicians. Treatment is based at six clinics, including both HIV primary care clinics and specialist clinics:

  1. The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne;
  2. Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Carlton;
  3. Prahran Market Clinic, Prahran;
  4. Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville;
  5. Centre Clinic, St Kilda; and
  6. Northside Clinic, North Fitzroy.

This study will offer proof of concept that scaling up treatment could lead to elimination of HCV/HIV co-infection in gay and bisexual men by treating prevalent infection thereby reducing new primary infections and re-infection. In order to measure the population impact of treating HCV in HIV infected individuals, data from the ACCESS Surveillance System will be used to monitor HCV testing, prevalence, incidence and reinfection.

If you would like more information or are interested in being part of this study, please contact the clinical research team on (03) 9076 6908 or email co-ec@burnet.edu.au.

Timeline

The study will run for 36 months, including 18 months for recruitment and treatment and 12 months follow-up, from March 2015 – 2018.

Collaborators

Department of Infectious Disease, Alfred Health

Funding

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Health Issues

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Anna Bowring

PhD Student & Research Assistant

Telephone

+61385062302

Email

anna.bowring@burnet.edu.au