Nov 17, 2012
I was infected with Hepatitis C through a blood tansfusion back in 1972. I use to be married and my former wife never became infected. Now I am a disabled vet (male) and recently had a blood test that said my Hepatitis was in an active state. I have recently reconnected with an old love from high school and want to know if I could infect her if we were to become sexually active without protection? What are the chances of me infecting her? I don't want to put her in any danger of becoming infected.
Response from Dr. Taylor
Heterosexual transmission of hepatitis C is rare.
Hepatitis C is not typically spread by intercourse in which a penis enters the vagina, which some people call heterosexual intercourse.
Hepatitis C is spread when the blood from person who has hepatitis C gets into the body of another person. In terms of sexual spread of hepatitis C, this may occur with sexual activities involving blood, such as anal intercourse (anal sex), when the penis enters the anus (butt). To date most cases of sexual spread of hepatitis C are occurring among HIV-infected men who have sex with men, who have anal sex without a condom. However for you and your female partner I would avoid anal intercourse to lower the risk of spread further.
Hepatitis C is not spread via oral sex although other infections are.
Remember that there are infections that are passed through sex, including HIV (and Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and others). Consider having an HIV test and seeing if your new potential sexual partner will have an HIV test before entering a sexual relationship.
The VA is the largest provider of hepatitis C care in the U.S. For your hepatitis C, please talk with your doctor about treatment pros and cons for you. There are many new medications coming out including medication regimens that do not involve interferon shots.
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