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Hepatitis C and Watersports (urine)
Feb 8, 1999

My boyfriend and I have become interested in "Water Sports" through the encouragement of some friends. I have been vacinated against Hepatitis A and B. But I'm wondering what the risk is of contracting hepatitis C from contact with urine? I know the rules regarding seman and HIV transmission, but what about urine and Hep-C?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question.

The hepatitis C virus is transmitted primarily through direct blood-to-blood contact (for example sharing needles). Occasionally, it can also be transmitted sexually, most often through unprotected intercourse. The hepatitis C virus can sometimes be found in other body fluids like saliva, semen, and urine, but the risks are less than exposure to blood.

When it comes to watersports (sex involving urine), this is a sexual activity that rarely gets discussed. I am not aware of any cases of hepatitis C transmission specifically through watersports. Theoretically speaking, there may be some risk of infection through watersports if you drink your partners urine (known as internal watersports). If he has a high viral load in his blood, there is a chance that the viral load in his urine may be increased as well. Although there may be some risk of infection through internal watersports, we can generally say that the risk is less than direct blood-to-blood contact, and less than unprotected intercourse. Getting his urine on your skin (known as external watersports) is very low risk, since the hepatitis C virus must get into your bloodstream in order to infect you.

In summary, as far as internal watersports are concerned, there may be some risk of infection, especially if he has a high viral load. But because the issue of watersports and hepatitis C is based more on theoretical possibilities rather than actual clinical case reports, we cannot definitively say what the risks are. But what we can say is, if there is a risk of infection, it is a lower risk than blood exposure or unprotected intercourse. As far as the risks of external watersports are concerned, the risk is very low. And remember, your vaccinations against hepatitis A and hepatitis B will not protect you against hepatitis C, nor other forms of hepatitis.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail me at "nvhotline@aol.com" or call me at (Nationwide). I'm glad to help!



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