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Hepatitis C and sex-CONFUSED AND SCARED
Feb 11, 2011

Hello! I have met a wonderful man who has just disclosed that he has had Hepatitis C for many years. I would like for our relationship to progress into a physical/sexual way, but I worry about catching HEP c myself. I am a single mother and am scared to risk my health knowingly. How concerned should I be with deep kissing, having intercourse (with or without a condom) and oral sex with my (future) partner? Am I crazy to allow my relationship to progress into a sexual one if I am at risk for contracting the virus? My children are my top priority (over my desires and needs)--I am afraid to put myself knowingly in harm's way; I worry about if I were to catch Hep c, who will take care of my kids when I am sick, etc...Also, is it selfish of me to bring someone into my home and expose my kids to these potential dangers? I apologize if I sound judgmental (I AM NOT!), or ignorant (I am about this!). I really need advice on whether I am putting myself at extreme risk or not. He is a wonderful person and I care very much, but in regards to Hep c, should I just remain friends?? Thank you--I am so miserable about this!!!!!!

Response from Dr. McGovern

I counsel my monogamous couples that the risk of getting HCV through sexual intercourse is very low at about 1 to 2 percent. Condoms would bring that down to about zero so it depends on your level of concern and your comfort with risk. There is no risk of HCV transmission through oral sex. It is mainly transmitted in association with trauma so anal sex becomes more risky than vaginal sex.



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