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Dating with Hep C
Dec 10, 2005

I'm a 45 year old woman with Hep C (since 1986 I believe). I'm divorced and have just started to date. Please advice as to: 1. Must I disclose to potential sexual partners my Hep C status? 2. Is the risk of infecting a partner greater when I have my period (through touching, oral sex or intercourse (with condom))? 3. If other STDs have been ruled out, must my partner always wear a condom to be protected from the Hep C virus? I greatly appreciate your response.

Response from Dr. McGovern

I will tell you what I tell everyone REGARDLESS of the presence or absence of other infections.

Always use barrier protection with a new sexual partner to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases such as hepatitis B, HIV, gonorrhea and chlamydia and papillomavirus. I have seen too many people with severe anxiety while awaiting results of testing for STDs, especially HIV. You CANNOT tell someone's HIV status by looking at them.

As for your hepatitis C: Sexual transmission is uncommon; occurs in about 1 to 3 percent of monogamous couples. However it is not zero. If you use condoms, then you do not have to disclose until you feel comfortable disclosing your HCV status. Dr. M



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