Targeted vaccination programme successful in reducing acute hepatitis B in men having sex with men in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
van Rijckevorsel G., Whelan J., Kretzschmar M., Siedenburg E., Sonder G., Geskus R., Coutinho R., van den Hoek A.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: In the Netherlands, transmission of hepatitis B virus occurs mainly within behavioural high-risk groups, such as in men who have sex with men. Therefore, a vaccination programme has targeted these high-risk groups. This study evaluates the impact of the vaccination programme targeting Amsterdam's large population of men who have sex with men from 1998 through 2011. METHODS: We used Amsterdam data from the national database of the vaccination programme for high-risk groups (January 1, 1998 to December 31, 2011). Programme and vaccination coverage were estimated with population statistics. Incidence of acute hepatitis B was analyzed with notification data from the Amsterdam Public Health Service (1992-2011). Mathematical modelling accounting for vaccination data and trends in sexual risk behaviour was used to explore the impact of the programme. RESULTS: At the end of 2011, programme coverage was estimated at 41% and vaccination coverage from 30% to 38%. Most participants (67%) were recruited from the outpatient department for sexually transmitted infections and outreach locations such as saunas and gay bars. Incidence of acute hepatitis B dropped sharply after 2005. The mathematical model in which those who engage most in high-risk sex are vaccinated, best explained the decline in incidence. CONCLUSIONS: Transmission of hepatitis B virus among Amsterdam's men who have sex with men has decreased, despite ongoing high-risk sexual behaviour. Vaccination programmes targeting men who have sex with men do not require full coverage; they may be effective when those who engage most in high-risk sex are reached.