Fact : Stds Multiple Partners And Hiv Increase Risk
Some populations are at higher risk for sexual transmission, says Dr. Diaz. Theres more transmission in gay men, as well as those who have multiple sex partners. Having a sexually transmitted disease like HIV, gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, genital herpes, genital warts, and chlamydiaraises risk for contracting HCV as well because your immune system will be compromised to some degree, and not as effective at dealing with HCV. Also, the STD may involve sores that increase risk of transmission into the bloodstream.
Fact : Risk Of Sexual Transmission Is Generally Low
Just like the other blood-to-blood transmission scenarios, risk through sex is very low, says Dr. Diaz. For example, the Hepatitis C Association notes that fewer than 3% will contract HCV through unprotected sex with a heterosexual, monogamous HCV-positive partner.
Theres also an extremely small chance of transmission through bodily fluidslike oral sex or even just kissingbut you would need to have some type of open sore that allows the virus to get into your bloodstream. Your partner would need an open sore, too. Although its theoretically possible, theres never been a reported case of that kind of transmission, Dr. Diaz says.
Should You Get Tested
The CDC recommends that anyone over the age of 18 get tested for Hepatitis C. But you should especially consider being tested if you:
- Were born between 1945 and 1965
- Have used injected drugs
- Were born to a mother who had hepatitis C
- Were treated for a blood clotting problem before 1987
- Got a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
- Have been a long-term hemodialysis patient
- Work in health care or public safety and were exposed to blood through a needle stick or other sharp object injury
If you get tested and find out you have hepatitis C, tell your sex partner and anyone else who may have been exposed to your blood, including through drug use.
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Sexual Transmission And Hepatitis A
Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur from any sexual activity with an infected person and is not limited to fecal-oral contact. People who are sexually active are considered at risk for hepatitis A if they are MSM, live with or are having sex with an infected person, or inject drugs. Vaccination is the most effective means of preventing hepatitis A transmission among people at risk for infection. CDC has published recommendations for prevention of hepatitis A that identify all groups recommended for vaccination, including hepatitis A vaccination for MSM.
Sexual Transmission And Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B can be transmitted through sexual activity. Unvaccinated adults who have multiple sex partners, along with sex partners of people with chronic hepatitis B infection, are at increased risk for transmission. Injection-drug use and sexual contact are other common modes of hepatitis B transmission in the United States.
Among adults seeking treatment in STD clinics, as many as 10%40% have evidence of past or current hepatitis B virus infection. Many of these infections could have been prevented through universal vaccination during delivery of STD prevention or treatment services. Offering vaccination to all adults as part of routine prevention services in STD treatment facilities has been demonstrated to increase vaccination coverage among adults at risk for hepatitis B infection, as the behavioral risk factors for STDs and hepatitis B are similar.
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Giving Blood And Organ Donation
If you have hepatitis C, you cannot give blood.
In a recent research study in America kidneys from people with hepatitis C who had died were transplanted into patients who did not have the virus.
All of the recipients subsequently contracted hepatitis C but were treated for it and all were cured. The benefit of receiving a kidney outweighed the risk of not clearing hepatitis C.
Why It’s Important To Get Tested
Because hepatitis C is a highly infectious virus, the CDC recommends that adults 18 years or older get tested for hepatitis C at least once in their lifetime. This is also true for pregnant people during each pregnancy.
To test whether you have a hepatitis C infection, your healthcare provider will perform a hepatitis C antibody test to determine whether you have antibodies that were created in response to the infection.
If your test is positive, your healthcare provider will also perform a hepatitis C RNA test, which accurately determines whether you have a current infection.
Once it is determined you have an HCV infection, your healthcare provider will recommend the best course of treatment. For most people, treatment with antiviral drugs will be started. There are effective treatments that can cure HCV and prevent liver damage.
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Is Hepatitis C Sexually Transmitted
In this post, I will answer the question using the combination of the most recent scientific research and personal experience.
The question of whether Hepatitis C is a sexually transmitted disease comes up quite regularly and is inevitably controversial. In this post, I will answer the question using the combination of the most recent scientific research and personal experience.
The short answer to the question Is Hepatitis C a sexually transmitted disease? is No, Hepatitis C is not a sexually transmitted disease.
Research shows that the chance of catching, or transmitting, Hepatitis C through vaginal sex is about 200,000 in one. In other words, if you were to have sexual intercourse 200,000 times there is one chance you might catch Hep C from an infected partner.
To put this in a real world context I had Hepatitis C for the first 35 years of my marriage. My wife and I were sexually active all through those years and my wife did not catch Hep C from me. I have heard the same experience from many other couples.
To put this in perspective, according to my maths, you would need to have sex 20 times a day every day for more than 20 years to have one chance of catching Hepatitis C through vaginal sexual intercourse. Hepatitis C can only be transmitted through blood-to-blood contact.
Gregs blog is reprinted with permission, and the views are entirely his.
Sexual Transmission And Viral Hepatitis
Certain adults who are sexually active should be vaccinated against hepatitis B.
CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend hepatitis B vaccination for
- sexually active people with more than one sex partner during the previous 6 months
- people seeking evaluation or treatment for a sexually transmitted disease
- sex partners of people with hepatitis B and
- men who have sex with men .
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How Is Hepatitis C Passed
Hepatitis C is generally passed by direct blood-to-blood contact. This occurs when a persons blood is exposed to the blood of someone with hepatitis C infection through a break or tear in the skin or mucous membranes. In Canada, the most common way a person gets hepatitis C is through sharing injection drug use equipment.7 Hepatitis C can also be passed through sharing equipment for smoking drugs, such as pipes and mouthpieces,8 and it can potentially be passed through sharing straws for snorting drugs.9
Fact : Boomers Should Especially Keep Hcv In Mind
Baby Boomers are five times more likely to have HCV than other generations. The reasons are not completely understood, but one factor may be that infection-control procedures, including screening donated blood, didnt begin until the 1990s, and many were likely infected before then. But thats not the only reason. Currently, STDs are on the rise in Boomers mainly because they often dont use condoms, raising infection risk.
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How Do You Get Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through blood-to-blood contact. It is very infectious and the virus can stay alive outside the body for up to several weeks.
The infection can be spread by:
sharing needles and syringes, particularly when injecting drugs
medical and dental equipment that has not been properly sterilised
the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.
unsterilised tattoo and body piercing equipment
sharing contaminated razors, toothbrushes or towels .
It can be transmitted sexually, especially during or other types of sex that may involve blood, although this is less common. Sharing uncovered or unwashed sex toys can also pass it on.
The risk of hepatitis C infection is increased when you have another STI especially one that causes sores. People with HIV are also more likely to get hepatitis C.
The virus can also be passed on from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. For more details on hepatitis C in pregnancy read our in detail tab.
Unregulated Tattoos And Body Piercings
Tattoos and body piercings use needles that pierce through your skin. Each piercing brings more opportunities for the needle to come in contact with infected blood. If you get a tattoo or body piercing using the same needle that’s been exposed to infected blood, it puts you at greater risk of contracting hepatitis C.
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Could I Get Hep C In The Hospital
Before the medical community identified hepatitis C as a dangerous virus, it existed in the blood supply that hospitals used for transfusions or organ transplants. People got hepatitis C if they received a transfusion before we knew how to test for it, says Dr. Fox. Today though, blood is screened before being administered to patients, so the odds of getting hep C from it is extremely unlikely.
There are also cases of babies who are born with hep C, but that has nothing to do with hospital itself: If a woman has the virus, there is a 6% chance her infant will be born with it, too, according to the CDC. For that reason, its important to be tested for hepatitis C if you are thinking about getting pregnant, and also during pregnancy.
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Fact : Transmission Happens Through Blood Exchange
When considering the possibility of transmitting or contracting HCV, its important to know this is a blood-borne virus, says Viviana Figueroa Diaz, M.D., a hepatologist and assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health in New York City. That means any sexual activity that involves a potential exchange of blood can increase transmission risk.
Because HCV can be transmitted through blood-to-blood contact, transmission risks include sharing needles, sex, tattooing, acupuncture, even using someone elses razor or toothbrush. But even then, risks are low.
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Why Are We Talking About Sexual Transmission Of Hepatitis C Among Gbmsm
Drug use, and injection drug use in particular, is a well-understood pathway for hepatitis C transmission. Sexual transmission of hepatitis C isnt as clear. The evidence suggests that sexual transmission of hepatitis C among heterosexual couples is rare.1 However, as we will discuss below, sexual transmission of hepatitis C can occur among gbMSM. Further, changing sexual practices among gbMSM2 using new HIV prevention approaches may be having an impact on the rates of sexual transmission of hepatitis C.
The Blueprint to inform hepatitis C elimination efforts in Canada indicates that gbMSM are an emerging priority population for efforts to eliminate hepatitis C infection. The Blueprint states that sexual transmission and/or transmission through drug use are the main risk factors for hepatitis C among gbMSM.3 However, hepatitis C infection may not be widely considered a priority for sexual health services and education for gbMSM.
It is challenging to understand the risk of sexual transmission among gbMSM, including separating the risks of transmitting hepatitis C through sex and through drug use. In the studies discussed in this article, where information on drug use is included in the research it is often based on self-reported data, which may be an underestimate because of the stigma that can be associated with drug use.
Needlestick Injuries In Healthcare Settings
Nurses, physicians, and all healthcare professionals who routinely use needles while providing medical care are at risk for needlestick injuries. In fact, it is estimated that more than 600,000 needlestick injuries happen each year, with nurses being at highest risk. An average of about 2 percent of needlestick injuries where there has been exposure to the virus will result in acute hepatitis C.
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What Are The Rates Of Sexually Acquired Hepatitis C Infection Among Gbmsm
gbMSM living with HIV
In the early 2000s, reports began to appear of hepatitis C outbreaks among populations of gbMSM living with HIV where the vast majority of the men did not report typical blood-related risks for transmission, such as injection drug use or medical/dental care in countries where universal precautions to prevent hepatitis C infection have not been consistently implemented.6,15 These were the first reports to suggest that hepatitis C could be passed through sex. Over time, as more research was published globally on rates of hepatitis C infection among gbMSM living with HIV, it became accepted that sex was a pathway for transmission of hepatitis C among gbMSM living with HIV.6,10,16
Two international systematic reviews reported that the hepatitis C prevalence rate among HIV-positive gbMSM with no history of injection drug use is about seven in 100.17,18 This is higher than the estimated prevalence rate of five in 100 among gbMSM with/without HIV in a survey across five cities in Canada.19
HIV-negative gbMSM have much lower rates of new hepatitis C infections than HIV-positive gbMSM. Rates ranged from 0.4 to 1.5 new hepatitis C infections per 1000 person-years among HIV-negative gbMSM.16
How Do I Test For Hepatitis C
A simple blood test will show whether you have the virus. You may also be given an extra test to see if your liver is damaged.
If youve got hepatitis C you should be tested for other STIs. It’s important that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have hepatitis C do not notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on. It can also stop you from getting the infection again.
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Can Hep C Be Transmitted Sexually
Responsible, sexually active people are educating themselves on safe sex, and this education includes learning about Hepatitis Cs potential for transmission during sexual contact. Creating confusion and instilling mystery, conflicting reports about whether this virus is contracted sexually continues to circulate throughout our society. Although not exclusively considered a sexually transmitted disease, the Hepatitis C virus has the potential to be spread through sexual contact.
Can You Get Hep C From Recreational Drug Use
The main way hepatitis C is spread is blood-to-blood, says Rena Fox, M.D., a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and an internist and hepatitis specialist at UCSF Health. So any activity where you might come in contact with another persons blood, like sharing needles, puts you at risk.
In fact, sharing needles and syringes is the most common way hepatitis C is spread, says Dr. Fox. We started seeing the number of new cases per year rise again about four or five years ago, along with an increase in heroin use with the opioid epidemic, she says. If people become addicted to prescription opiates, but then lose access to them, she explains, they may turn to heroin which often involves sharing needles.
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How Is Hep C Passed On
You can contract Hep C if the blood of someone who has already contracted Hep C enters your body.
Hep C is spread by:
- Sharing needles or straws during drug use
- Inadequate sterilization of medical equipment
- Transfusions with unscreened blood and blood products
- Unprotected sex with a Hep C carrier
- Mother to baby during pregnancy or birth
Hep C is not spread through breast milk, food, water, or casual contact such as hugging, kissing, or sharing food or drinks with a person who has Hep C.
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How Do I Know If I Have Hepatitis C Virus
Diagnosis of hepatitis C virus requires a blood test your doctor can order. Other blood tests can determine which subtype of HCV you have to better target your drug treatment, if needed. Your doctor will also want to know your viral load . In some patients, a liver biopsy is required to determine the level of damage.
Symptoms of chronic HCV may not appear for 2 to 3 decades after infection, so the disease may develop silently in your body for many years. This is the reason you should be tested for HCV infection, to start treatment if needed and to help protect your liver from damage.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone 18 years or older be tested for hepatitis C virus at least once in their lifetime. Women should be tested for hepatitis C testing during each pregnancy. Some high risk groups may need more frequent testing, such as people who share drug preparation equipment and those on hemodialysis.
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What Can Explain The Rates Of Sexually Acquired Hepatitis C Infection
Another theory on why higher rates of hepatitis C may be seen in HIV-positive men is that HIV is more sexually infectious than hepatitis C, so gbMSM having types of sex that pass both infections are more likely to get HIV before hepatitis C.6,15 An additional theory is that the higher rates of hepatitis C infection among HIV-positive gbMSM may be random.6,15 Once hepatitis C entered the population of gbMSM living with HIV, hepatitis C may have been ring-fenced around gbMSM living with HIV through practices such as serosorting .6,10,15 Research analyzing strains of hepatitis C virus to trace patterns of infection supports this theory. The studies suggest there was a rapid expansion of gbMSM-specific hepatitis C virus strains in Europe after 1996, which followed the introduction of highly effective antiretroviral therapy for HIV.6,26 The studies also suggest that hepatitis C was being passed among gbMSM living with HIV and that there was minimal overlap with strains of hepatitis C virus among injection drug use networks.26