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hep c non-transmittable?
Jun 7, 2012

A friend of mine who is both HIV positive and HepC positive practices unprotected bareback sex with men both in the passive and active role. His HIV is "undetectable" and he is on HAART. He asserts that he does not need to disclose his HepC status, as he has been "cleared" of the virus in his body and is not transmissible. Please answer the question - Is there any such thing as a Hep C positive person being not transmissible?

Response from Dr. McGovern

Not everyone who is HCV seropositive has virus in their blood. A small subset of patients (about 20%) have no detectable virus. However, this percentage is lower in patients who also have HIV.

Although your friend may have been undetectable in the past, I would be concerned that this may no longer be the case because of his risky behaviors. In other words, you can get reinfected with HCV virus. Having antibody and clearing the infection once doesn't protect you from getting it again. I have seen this many times.

HCV is occurring in outbreaks in many MSM worldwide and is more commonly seen among those with HIV. Safe sex practices can avoid transmission. HCV transmission occurs in those with a history of rectal trauma or in those with a history of skin breakage with STDs.

Please advise your friend and thanks for your important question.



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