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Transmission of HCV Likely?
Jan 12, 2011

What is the theoretical likelihood of contracting HCV by performing oral sex on a partner around the time of her menstrual cycle if no blood was visibly present? Further, what is the theoretical likelihood of transmitting HCV to another partner through semen if the amount of semen to enter her body was extremely low (as in preseminal fluid only)?

Response from Dr. McGovern

HCV can be transmitted sexually but it is uncommon among heterosexual couples (estimated about 1 to 2% risk). HCV has been isolated in cervical secretions and ejaculate, but the virus seems to be mainly isolated in the cells of the fluids...Some studies show that this virus is not actively replicating...

The risk of transmission is facilitated by blood to blood contact. Transmission risk goes up in the setting of trauma (eg rectal tearing). These are the issues to focus on...

Thus oral sex is not a risk factor for transmission.

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