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Uncommonly through sex
Apr 2, 2006

Dr. McGovern, you recently answered a question about hepatitis c this way:

You are not at risk for getting hepatitis C from your friend. Hepatitis C is spread through exposure to blood through injection drug use and uncommonly through sex.

Did you not mean to say through "uncommon sex," i.e., anal penetration?

Response from Dr. McGovern

Please let me clarify.

Hepatitis B is easily transmitted sexually.

Hepatitis C can be transmitted sexually, but this is much less common.

In monogamous couples, the risk is about 1 to 3 percent.

In men who have sex with men, the risk is higher. There have also been several reports of HIV infected MSM who have developed acute hepatitis C. None of these patients reported injection drug use, and fancy molecular techniques were able to trace the same exact strain amongst sexual partners, consistent with sexual intercourse as the main route of transmission. The risk of hepatitis C was also increased in patients who had a history of fisting and history of another sexually transmitted disease which caused an ulcer at that time.

Dr. M



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