Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Can Hepatitis C Be Transmitted Orally

Sharing Personal Care Items

Hepatitis C Oral Transmission

The chances of spreading hepatitis C within your household are low but possible. To be safe, dont share personal care items that could be contaminated with blood, Lee says. These include razors, toothbrushes, cuticle scissors, and nail clippers.

In addition, be mindful when you go to nail salons or barbershops, where the same tools are used on all customers. A study published in the November-December 2014 issue of the Journal of Public Health Management & Practicefound that while regulations to safeguard the public exist in most states, its unknown how many businesses comply with them. Ask about tool-sterilization procedures before you frequent these establishments. You can also bring your own nail care supplies.

Blood Transfusion/receipt Of Blood Products

Early case-control studies of patients with newly acquired, symptomatic non-A, non-B hepatitis found a significant association between disease acquisition and a history six months prior to illness of blood transfusions, injection drug use, health care employment with frequent exposure to blood, personal contact with others who had hepatitis, multiple sexual partners or low socioeconomic status. Today, HCV is rarely transmitted by blood transfusion or transplantation of organs due to thorough screening of the blood supply for the presence of the virus and inactivation procedures that destroy bloodborne viruses. In the last several years, blood banks have instituted techniques that utilize nucleic acid amplification of the hepatitis C virus, which will detect the presence of virus even in newly-infected patients who are still hepatitis C antibody-negative. These techniques are estimated to have prevented 56 transfusion-associated HCV infections per year in the U.S. since 1999, and have lowered the current risk of acquiring HCV via transfused blood products to 1 in 2 million.

What Is Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B, sometimes called Hep B or HBV, is part of a group of hepatitis viruses that attack the liver. For some people the infection becomes chronic, meaning it lasts more than six months. People with chronic hepatitis B have a higher chance of liver damage.

Most adults with hepatitis B make a full recovery, even if their symptoms are severe. Babies and children are more likely to develop a long-lasting hepatitis B infection.

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Fact : Safe Sex Practices Are Your Best Bet

In a monogamous, heterosexual, long-term relationship, condoms may not be required, says Dr. Diaz. But even then, your doctor may recommend erring on the side of caution and practicing safe sex until both partners are shown to be negative for HCV. Taking medications as prescribed, being tested for other STDs, and staying in communication with your doctor about safe sex practices can all go a long way toward lowering your transmission risks.

How Do You Get It

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Hepatitis A

You can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water and by not washing hands after the toilet or before touching food.

Hepatitis B

  • sharing items that may pierce the skin or have blood on them
  • blood transfusion .

Hepatitis C

You can get hepatitis C through contact with infected blood, sharing needles, syringes and any other equipment and, possibly, through sexual contact. You can also get it with a blood transfusion in countries that do not pre-test blood for transfusion.

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What Are The Chances Of Getting Hep C Sexually

Hepatitis C can be transmitted through sexual activity, but it is uncommon. It is estimated that among heterosexual couples, the risk of getting hepatitis C through sexual activity is approximately 1 in 380,000 individuals. However, you are at a greater risk of getting hepatitis C if you have a sexually transmitted infection or have sex with multiple partners.

Do You Need To Use Birth Control Methods When You Are On A Combination Treatment Of Direct Acting Antivirals And Ribavirin

Sex and Sexuality

Some patients are prescribed a medication called ribavirin to take with their direct-acting antiviral medication to treat hepatitis C. This medication can cause birth defects, and you or your partner should NOT get pregnant while you are taking it. If you are taking ribavirin to treat your hepatitis C, you must use two effective forms of birth control, one for you and one for your partner. For example: the man uses a condom, and the woman uses a diaphragm or birth control pill. You must continue this type of birth control for six months after your last dose of combination treatment.

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Is Hepatitis C Sexually Transmitted

Can hepatitis C be spread through sexual contact?

Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus . The disease can be passed from person to person.

Researchers in found that 1 out of every 190,000 instances of heterosexual sexual contact led to HCV transmission. Participants in the study were in monogamous sexual relationships.

HCV may be more likely to spread through sexual contact if you:

  • have multiple sexual partners
  • participate in rough sex, which is more likely to result in broken skin or bleeding
  • dont use barrier protection, such as condoms or dental dams
  • dont use barrier protection properly
  • have a sexually transmitted infection or HIV

Theres no evidence that HCV can be spread through oral sex. However, it may still be possible if blood is present from either the person giving or receiving oral sex.

For example, a slight risk may exist if any of the following are present:

  • menstrual blood
  • any other breaks in the skin in the involved areas

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Prevalence And Incidence Of Hcv Infection In Partners

How Is Hepatitis Transmitted?

Although the overall prevalence of HCV infection among the partners of antiHCV-positive index subjects was 20/500 , the prevalence of HCV infection among partners potentially attributable to sexual contact was 3/500 assuming all HCV RNAnegative partners were discordant and 6/500 assuming all HCV RNAnegative, antibody-concordant couples were concordant .

Based on the frequency of sexual contact and length of relationships reported, a cumulative 8,377 person-years of risk for acquiring HCV by sexual activity was calculated. With three viremic confirmed concordant couples and three possible concordant couples, the estimated incidence of HCV infection among partners ranged from 3.6 per 10,000 person-years to 7.2 per 10,000 person-years .

The estimated risk per sexual contact ranged from 1 per 380,000 to 1 per 190,000 .

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Fact : Sex During Menstruation Should Be Avoided

Because of the way HCV is transmitted, sex during menstruation is not recommended, even among monogamous couples, and even with condom use. The virus can be present in menstrual blood for women living with HCV, and if its a sexual partner who has the virus, menstruation can make it easier for the virus to enter a womans bloodstream because this phase of a womans cycle is associated with decreased immune response.

Prevention And The Treatment Potential

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent HCV infection. However, the recent availability of DAA for the treatment of chronic HCV with cures rates over 95% has created optimism towards HCV elimination. In many countries treatment is now available for all individuals with a chronic HCV infection, irrespective of fibrosis stage . Modelling studies were the first to demonstrate that rapid scaleup of DAA might limit onward transmission and chronic HCV prevalence and incidence among MSM could decline , , . However, for substantial reductions a decline in risk behaviour is needed as the scaleup of DAA is counterbalanced by ongoing risk behaviour, resulting in initial and reinfections , , . In addition, early treatment, including treatment of acute infection, might further reduce HCV incidence , . As treatment is costly and treatment uptake varies considerably across countries , effective behavioural interventions for MSM at risk of infection are urgently needed. Qualitative research among HIVpositive MSM with a cured HCV infection in the preDAA era showed that the strongest motive to implement risk reduction strategies was the reward of avoiding HCV retreatment and its side effects , but this may have changed with the less burdensome DAA treatment. Also sexual risk norms within the MSM population, HCV stigma and nondisclosure of HCV status forms barriers to safer sex, and drug use directly impedes the selfefficacy of MSM to take risk reduction measures .

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For Safer Sex Treat Hepatitis C

If you have chronic hepatitis C, you can lower your odds of spreading the virus by seeking medical treatment. Direct-acting antiviral medications can cure more than 90 percent of hepatitis C cases with eight to 12 weeks of treatment, according to the CDC. These newer hepatitis C treatments are not only effective but also generally have fewer, much less severe side effects than previous drugs.

Just be aware that during treatment, transmission can still occur. And a cure doesnt grant you protection against the virus for life. If you continue to engage in high-risk behavior, you can get reinfected, warns Kenneth Sherman, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine and the director of the division of digestive diseases at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

Contaminated Needles And Infected Blood

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You can get hepatitis C from sharing contaminated needles, syringes and other injecting equipment during recreational drug use. Banknotes and straws used for snorting may also pass the virus on.

Being exposed to unsterilised tattoo and body piercing equipment can also pass hepatitis C on. Occasionally, you can get it from sharing a towel, razor blades or a toothbrush if there is infected blood on them.

Hepatitis C infection is also passed on in healthcare settings, from needle stick injuries or from medical and dental equipment that has not been properly sterilised. In countries where blood products are not routinely screened, you can also get hepatitis C by receiving a transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.

You can prevent hepatitis C by:

  • never sharing needles and syringes or other items that may be contaminated with infected blood
  • only having tattoos, body piercings or acupuncture in a professional setting, where new, sterile needles are used
  • following the standard infection control precautions, if youre working in a healthcare setting.

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So Who Is At Risk For Hep C

People who have used injected drugs at any time are at the greatest risk for contracting Hep C. A coinfection of HIV and Hep C is common. This is because the two diseases have similar risk factors, including needle sharing and unprotected sex.

Prior to 1992, if you received a blood transfusion or an organ transplant you may also be at risk for Hep C. During this time, blood tests werent as sensitive to Hep C so the possibility of receiving tainted blood was much higher.

Hcv Transmission From Sharing A Urethral Injection

An unusual mode of sexual transmission of HCV is also reported in the same journal. The case concerns a 35 year old, gay, HIV-positive man in Brighton, UK, who was receiving HAART and was diagnosed with HCV in 2000 after abnormal liver function tests. The man denied injecting recreational drugs or steroids and reported consistent condom use. However, he did acknowledge a single instance when he shared a Caverject injection, a treatment for erectile dysfunction administered by insertion into the urethra, with his partner. Both men were found to be infected with the same strain of HCV. The investigators conclude that it seems more than likely that transmission occurred via the shared Caverject needle, adding, users should be warned of the potential risk of transmission of HCV and other viruses including drug resistant HIV if sharing Caverject.

Can hepatitis C be spread through sexual contact?

Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus . The disease can be passed from person to person.

Researchers in found that 1 out of every 190,000 instances of heterosexual sexual contact led to HCV transmission. Participants in the study were in monogamous sexual relationships.

HCV may be more likely to spread through sexual contact if you:

Theres no evidence that HCV can be spread through oral sex. However, it may still be possible if blood is present from either the person giving or receiving oral sex.

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Can You Pass Hepatitis C To A Sex Partner

Sex and Sexuality

Yes, but it is not likely. Compared to hepatitis B virus and the human immunodeficiency virus , it is less likely that you will spread the hepatitis C virus to your sex partner.

If you have one long-term sex partner, and one of you has hepatitis C and one of you does not, you do not need to change your sex habits at all. But, if either you or your partner is worried about the small chance of spreading the hepatitis C virus, you can use latex condoms. This will make it almost impossible to spread the virus. Long-term partners of people with hepatitis C should get tested for the virus. If the test is negative, you will probably not need to repeat it.

If you have more than one sex partner, you are more likely to spread the virus. In this case, reduce the number of sex partners you have, practice safer sex, and always use latex condoms.

There have been outbreaks of sexually transmitted HCV infection among men who have HIV and who have sex with men. It is recommended that men who have sex with men use condoms to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted HCV and other sexually transmitted infections.

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If you’ve just been diagnosed with hepatitis C, you may wonder how you got it and worry about passing on the virus to a loved one. If you’ve had the disease for a long time without knowing it, you could dwell on every little incident in the past where you might have accidentally exposed a family member to the disease.

It’s important to remember that hepatitis C isn’t easy to catch. If you take a few precautions, it’s almost impossible to pass on the disease to someone else.

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Pregnancy And Hepatitis C

Should pregnant women be tested for HCV antibodies?

Yes. All pregnant women should be screened for anti-HCV during each pregnancy, except in settings where the prevalence of HCV infection is < 0.1% . Pregnant women with known risk factors should be tested during each pregnancy, regardless of setting prevalence. Any pregnant women testing positive for anti-HCV should receive a PCR test for HCV RNA to determine current infection status.

Can a mother with hepatitis C infect her infant during birth?

The overall risk of an infected mother transmitting HCV to her infant is approximately 4%8% per pregnancy . Transmission occurs during pregnancy or childbirth, and no prophylaxis is available to protect the newborn from infection. The risk is significantly higher if the mother has a high HCV viral load, or is coinfected with HIV with which the rate of transmission ranges from 8%15% . Most infants infected with HCV at birth have no symptoms.

Should a woman with hepatitis C be advised against breastfeeding?

When should children born to HCV-infected mothers be tested to see if they were infected at birth?

How Its Passed On

Most people get the virus from sharing drug injecting equipment such as needles, syringes, water cups, tourniquets, spoons, filters and swabs. Sharing things like straws and banknotes that are used for snorting drugs might pass the virus on, as can sharing pipes.

In the UK piercing and tattooing should be safe but unsterilised equipment abroad can spread the virus.

An infected person risks infecting others if they share anything that might have blood on it like a toothbrush or razor. A pregnant woman with the virus can give it to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth.

Blood transfusions in the UK are safe as blood is screened.

You can also potentially get it from medical or dental treatment abroad in countries where hepatitis C is common and infection control is inadequate.

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More Ways To Reduce The Risk Of Infection

If you arent sure whether you have hepatitis C, get tested. Testing is especially important if you are having sex with more than one person or if you have other risk factors for hepatitis C, including having had a blood transfusion prior to 1992 or injecting drugs .

Talk to your partner about getting tested as well, for hepatitis C and other STIs, so you know the risks before having sex. People who are at risk for hepatitis C are also at risk for HIV and other STIs, notes Talal.

How Do You Get Hepatitis B


Hepatitis B is passed on by:

  • having unprotected vaginal, and oral sex with someone who has hepatitis B*

  • changing partners frequently and not using a condoms every time you have sex

  • injecting drugs using contaminated equipment

  • using unsterilised tattoo, body-piercing or medical/dental equipment.

  • sharing towels, razor blades or toothbrushes with infected blood on them .

Hepatitis B can also be passed on from a mother to her newborn baby, particularly in countries where the infection is common.

For more details on hepatitis B in pregnancy read our in detail tab.

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How Else Can Hep C Be Spread

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, sharing needles with people is the most common way to contract the HCV virus. Less common ways include sharing personal hygiene products with an infected person, including:

However, Hep C cannot be transmitted through casual contact with infected persons, like sharing cups or cutlery. Holding hands, hugging, and even kissing wont spread the virus.

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