Hepatitis a among men who have sex with men in Barcelona, 1989-2010: Insufficient control and need for new approaches

Cecilia Tortajada, Patricia G. de Olalla, Elia Diez, Rosa M. Pinto, Albert Bosch, Unai Perez, Milagros Sanz, Joan A. Caylà

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24 Scopus citations


Background: Men who have sex with men (MSM) are a known group at risk for hepatitis A and outbreaks among this group are frequent. In Barcelona, vaccination for MSM has been recommended since 1994. In 1998 a vaccination campaign among preadolescents was implemented and an immunization program in gay bathhouses began in 2004. Objective: to asses the incidence of hepatitis A in adults in Barcelona from 1989 to 2010 and to evaluate the outbreaks among MSM including all genotypes involved.Methods: All cases of acute hepatitis A among young adults notified to the Public Health Agency of Barcelona from 1989 to 2010 were included for analyses. We calculated the annual incidence rate and the incidence ratio male-to-female (M:F) as a marker for MSM. Spearman's coefficient was used to evaluate trends. We also evaluated the outbreaks among MSM and compared their characteristics using Chi-squared and ANOVA test. Fragment amplification of the VP1/P2A region was used for genetic analysis.Results: The median annual incidence for the period of study was 4.7/100000 among females and 11.7/100000 among males. The rate of hepatitis A for adult woman decreased over time (Spearman' coefficient = -0.63, p = 0.002), whereas there was no decrease for adult men (Spearman' coefficient = 0.097, p = 0.67). During the study period the M:F ratio increased (Spearman' coefficient = 0.73, p < 0.001).Three large outbreaks among MSM were detected. When comparing outbreaks, there was a decrease in the percentage of bathhouse users (from 47% to 19%, p = 0.0001) and sex workers (from 6.5% to 0%) while the percentage of HIV infected individuals did not change significantly (range: 21%-28%, p = 0.36). The isolated strains were closely related to those circulating in Europe.Conclusions: Annual incidences remain high among MSM without tendency to decrease. More strategies which effectively reach the whole MSM community are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11
JournalBMC infectious diseases
StatePublished - Jan 20 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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