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Sex and HCV
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Melissa Palmer, MD posted:
Since this is understandably such a frequent question, I am leaving up this information.

Sexual contact, whether it is genital, oral, or anal, appears to be an extremely inefficient means of HCV transmission. In fact, many studies evaluating this route of transmission have failed to detect the presence of HCV in either the saliva, semen, or urine of HCV-infected people—except when these body fluids have been contaminated by the person's blood. However, it is important to emphasize that HCV has the potential to be transmitted through intimate contact if there are breaks in the skin or in the lining of the mouth, vagina, or anus. This may occur for a variety of reasons including the presence of active, bleeding herpes sores; an inflamed and infected prostate gland, known as prostatitis; or as a result of traumatic or rough sex, especially anal intercourse.
HCV has been detected with greater-than-average frequency among people who have a history of sexual promiscuity. While there is no exact definition for sexual promiscuity, one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine defines it as a "history of a sexually transmitted disease, sex with a prostitute, more than five sexual partners per year, or a combination of these." Of interest is that it appears to be easier for a man to transmit HCV to a woman than vice versa.
A person who is in a long-term monogamous relationship with an HCV-infected person rarely contracts this virus. Only approximately 2 percent (a range of 0 to 6 percent) of sexual partners of HCV-infected people also test positive for HCV. However, it is important to note that this statistic is based on indirect evidence only. Therefore, whether these people became infected through a sexual act or by another route is unclear. For example, people in long-standing relationships generally care for one another in times of illness or injury. During such times, HCV may be transmitted to the spouse or partner as blood-barrier precautions may not always be taken into consideration—even among the most cautious of couples.
Household Contact
Transmission of HCV among family members or other people living together may occur. This potentially can happen through the sharing of razors, toothbrushes, or any sharp instruments that carry HCV-infected blood. Therefore, it is crucial to keep all personal items, such as toothbrushes, in a separate part of the bathroom or specifically labeled. In this manner, the accidental use of a potentially HCV-infected household item will be decreased. The incidence of contracting HCV from accidental household contact in the United States is unknown. However, data from other countries indicate that it is low—approximately 4 percent.
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An_241926 responded:
I contracted HepC in Vietnam on May 1969 from a transfusion as a result of a wound. I have been married to the same woman for 40 years and have two grown children. My wife is not infected and neither are my children. Once I was diagnosed all sorts of theories about the transmission of HCV through almost any form of sexual act were rampant. I have never met a person with HCV that was transmitted by sexual intercourse of any exchange of bodily fluids related to sex. So relax about it. There are enough difficulties associated with HCV, no one needs sex tossed into the rumor mill.
 
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mcheal responded:
I am one of those who contracted hep c through sexual contact.Back in 1977 my wife and I were in the hospital.her for tubular pregnancy twice Which required a blood transfusion and myself for a back operation.One of us passed it to the other.The manner of it happening which lead to the tubular pregnancy was trying for a second child,the 1st being born in 1976.Her dr put her on a schedule to monitor herself for when she become ovulating,we would have intercourse.Well it seemed to me she ovulated often.Bad for me.But it seemed that at times of intercourse,I would be cut to shreds on a few places on my penis.All I know later in life that she had a difficult time delivering and that her fallopian tubes filed with dead scar tissue.That was the reason we found out years later of her not conceiving.Could this have been the reason for my penis to get cut?
 
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Haylen_WebMD_Staff replied to mcheal's response:
Hi mcheal!

I suggest you start a new post (using the orange "post now" button at the top of the page) to ask your question.

You've responded on an informational thread not checked by our expert.

Haylen
 
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mlh73 responded:
Hi Dr. Palmer, I'm writing concerned I know someone who is infected with hep c and is having unprotected sex and not informing these people he has this disease. Is there anything I can do about this?


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