Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Can You Get Hepatitis C From Oral Sex

Can You Pass Hepatitis C Through Other Types Of Sexual Contact Such As Oral And Anal Sex

Can weekly contact with one partner without protection lead to HIV? – Dr. Ramakrishna Prasad

Sex and Sexuality

There is no proof that anyone has ever spread the virus through oral sex, although it may be possible. Anal sex may damage the lining of the rectum and make it easier to pass the virus through the blood.

Using condoms will help prevent spreading the hepatitis C virus and will also protect you against other sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis B.

You cannot spread the hepatitis C virus through other types of contact, such as hugging or kissing someone on the cheek.

Who Should Get Tested For Hcv

According to current CDC guidelines, everyone in the baby-boom generation should get tested. In addition, the CDC recommends testing for anyone who has ever injected drugs, even if it was years ago, and even if it was only once. Anyone treated for a blood clotting condition before 1987, the year hepatitis C was discovered, should get tested. The same is true for anyone who received a blood transfusion before 1992, the year blood detection was widely implemented.

The CDC also recommends testing for anyone who has been on long-term hemodialysis for kidney disease or anyone who has been exposed to potentially contaminated blood via accidental needle stick or injury with a sharp object. Babies born to a mother with hepatitis C should also be tested, although the CDC recommends waiting to test until the child is at least 18 months old. The child is likely to still have hepatitis C-fighting antibodies for months after birth, so an earlier test might register a false positive.

Finally, the CDC recommends universal testing for anyone who has HIV, as the risk factors for the two infections are similar.

Image credit: jarun011 for iStock via Thinkstock.

How Do You Get It

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 A can be spread through unprotected sex which involves oral to anal contact .

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is spread:

  • from mother to baby
  • 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.

You May Like: How Do You Get Infected With Hepatitis C

Characteristics Of Participating Couples

The 500 couples were predominantly non-Hispanic white, educated, employed, and born in the United States . The median duration of the couples’ sexual relationships was 15 years . The most frequently reported risk factors for HCV infection among index subjects were IDU and blood transfusion before 1992 these risks were infrequently reported by partners. Twenty or more lifetime sex partners prior to the current relationship were reported by 46.2% of index subjects and 26.8% of partners.

Characteristics
< 0.016.2
  • Three of the six couples had strong evidence of infection with the same HCV isolate .
  • * In the reference sets for subtypes 1a and 1b, the mean pairwise distance was 0.618 ± 0.0006 for subtype 1a and 0.071 ±0.007 for subtype 1b.
  • In the reference sets for subtypes 1a and 1b, the mean number of base pair differences was 52.33 ± 5.33 for subtype 1a and 59.53 ± 5.79 for subtype 1b sequences.
  • Minimal divergence time based on estimated divergence rate of 2.6 nucleotide positions per year for the target region analyzed.
  • § Significance was calculated relative to the subtype 1a distribution because an adequate background distribution could not be established with the publicly available subtype 2b sequences. These values are also significant when compared with the subtype 1a distribution.

Eligible And Enrolled Couples

Hepatitis A alert

Of the 2,077 couples screened for study inclusion, 672 were eligible. Reasons for study exclusion occurring in 5% of the 1,405 ineligible couples included lack of sexual activity , prior organ transplant , refused study participation , doctor refused , HIV or HBV coinfection , partnership less than 3 years or nonmonogamous , and history of IDU in both partners . Of the 672 eligible couples, 500 enrolled and completed all the study requirements, at which time study enrollment was halted. The primary reasons for failure to participate among the remaining 172 eligible couples were nonresponse or refusal . Of the 500 enrolled couples, 43% were referred from tertiary referral practices, 34% from community sources, and 21% were blood donors.

Recommended Reading: How Do You Test For Hepatitis C

How Is It Treated

To recover, you should eat a well-balanced, low fat diet, and make sure you rest and get some exercise. It is best to avoid alcohol and drugs, as well as sexual contact, until you are better. If you are using any other medicines, check with your doctor that they dont affect your liver.

There are vaccines available for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. These stop you getting the infection if the first place.

There are now some antiviral treatments for hepatitis C, so talk to your doctor about these.

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.

Also Check: How Would You Know If You Had Hepatitis

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.

As with many infections, HCV lives in blood and bodily fluids. You can contract hepatitis C by coming into direct contact with an infected persons blood. It can also be transmitted by contact with bodily fluids including saliva or semen of an infected person, but this is rare.

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
  • genital warts
  • any other breaks in the skin in the involved areas

Though sexual transmission is rare overall, HCV may be more likely to spread through anal sex than oral sex. This is because rectal tissue is more likely to tear during intercourse.

Fact : You Cant Get Tested Right After Sex

Some STDs can be detected soon after unprotected sex, but HCV isnt one of them, Dr. Diaz explains. The virus antibody generally appears 12 weeks after exposure, she says, but your doctor may wait a few additional months to be sure. In part, thats because about 15% to 30% of people clear the virus on their own in that time frame with no major health impacts, Dr. Diaz says. So, if youve had sex with someone with HCV, youll likely be advised to wait for that amount of time before being tested.

Read Also: What’s The Difference Between Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C

Prevalence And Incidence Of Hcv Infection In Partners

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 .

Concordantly infected couples were no more likely to share blood-contaminated objects, such as nail clippers, razors, and toothbrushes, than couples in which one partner remained uninfected , but were more likely to have vaginal intercourse during menses and anal intercourse , and were less likely to use condoms . These differences, however, were not statistically significant.

Complications Of Hepatitis C

If the infection is left untreated for many years, some people with hepatitis C will develop scarring of the liver .

Over time, this can cause the liver to stop working properly.

In severe cases, life-threatening problems, such as liver failure, where the liver loses most or all of its functions, or liver cancer, can eventually develop.

Treating hepatitis C as early as possible can help reduce the risk of these problems happening.

You May Like: What Kind Of Doctor Treats Hepatitis C

What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis C

You may have hepatitis C and not have any signs or symptoms.

For those who do have symptoms, you may experience:

  • fever
  • nausea and vomiting
  • jaundice

Hepatitis C can lead to liver damage, as it causes swelling . This swelling causes scarring of the liver, which affects how the organ functions.

Liver scarring can worsen . This increases your chances of getting liver cancer.

How quickly your liver undergoes damage will depend on if you:

About 60% to 70% of people with hepatitis C do not develop symptoms until their liver has already been damaged.

Fact : Stds Multiple Partners And Hiv Increase Risk

Four curable sexually transmitted infections

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.

Also Check: Hepatitis B Surface Antibody Positive

How Do You Get Hepatitis C

The hepatitis C virus is usually spread through blood-to-blood contact.

Some ways the infection can be spread include:

  • sharing unsterilised needles particularly needles used to inject recreational drugs
  • sharing razors or toothbrushes
  • from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby
  • through unprotected sex although this is very rare

In the UK, most hepatitis C infections happen in people who inject drugs or have injected them in the past.

It’s estimated around half of those who inject drugs have the infection.

Contaminated Needles And Infected Blood

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.

Read Also: How To Screen For Hepatitis C

Hepatitis B And Safe Sex

“All three forms of viral hepatitis may be transmitted sexually, although hepatitis B is most commonly transmitted sexually,” explains Michael B. Fallon, MD, professor of medicine at The University of Texas Medical School in Houston. Once you have been diagnosed with hepatitis B, you should tell your partner so he or she can be tested. If your partner does not have hepatitis B, and is not already immune to hepatitis B, a vaccine is recommended.

“Sexual partners of individuals with hepatitis B should consider vaccination to prevent acquiring infections,” says Fallon. Hepatitis B immune globulin which works like an antibody, quickly fighting infection can also be given to a partner who has been exposed to your body fluids within two weeks after exposure to prevent infection. Even after your partner has been vaccinated, you should always use a condom.

RELATED: Hepatitis C Treatment Gets an Ambitious Makeover

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.

You May Like: Hepatitis B Treatment Side Effects

What About Sex And Other Body Fluids

Although hepatitis C has been found in semen, vaginal and menstrual fluid, the rate of infection via sexual contact is extremely low. In fact, transmission is so rare that the CDC does not even recommend condoms for monogamous couples. There’s also no evidence that hepatitis C can be transmitted during oral sex.

However, the risk of infection goes up among people who have multiple sexual partners, have HIV or another sexually transmitted infection or have rough sex that might cause bleeding. Anal sex is thought to be riskier than vaginal sex because of the increased likelihood of abrasions. The CDC does recommend condoms for people who have multiple sexual partners and people coinfected with HIV.

Image credit: IPGGutenbergUKLtd for iStock via Thinkstock.

How Do You Test For Hepatitis A

If youve been in contact with someone who has had hepatitis A, are at risk of getting hepatitis A, or if you start to have symptoms its a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional. A simple blood test will show whether you have the virus.

If you test positive, they may also do another type of blood test to check if your liver is working properly. You should also be tested for other STIs.

Its important that you tell people you live with or have close contact with, and your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested. Many people who have hepatitis A dont notice anything wrong, and by telling those youre in close contact with you can help to stop the virus being passed on.

Read Also: How Does One Catch Hepatitis C

Which Hepatitis Is An Std

Hepatitis A, B, and C can be sexually transmitted.

  • Hepatitis A: Although the fecal-oral route is common for hepatitis A, the virus can also be transmitted from any sexual activity. The use of condoms does not effectively prevent the spread of hepatitis A.
  • Hepatitis B: Sexual contact is the most common mode of Hepatitis B transmission in the United States. Compared to HIV, a hepatitis B infection is 50 to 100 times more likely to be transmitted sexually. The transmission risk is higher among unvaccinated people with risk behaviors like having multiple sex partners and men having sex with men .
  • Hepatitis C: The Hepatitis C virus may be transmitted via sexual contact. However, studies have shown that such transmission is very rare. A higher rate of sexual transmission of the hepatitis C infection is seen in MSM, especially those who practice unprotected anal intercourse and have an infection with the human immunodeficiency virus .

What Are The Other Ways Hcv Is Transmitted

Can you get hepatitis C from oral sex? What you need to know

Hepatitis C cannot be transmitted by hugging, kissing or coughing. Before the virus was discovered, transmission used to be common in hospitals and at tattoo and piercing parlors, but today’s sterilization and testing guidelines mean transmission at licensed facilities is rare. Occasionally, nurses and other health care professionals can be infected from an accidental needle stick injury.

Transmission is also possible in non-licensed tattoo settings, and people who have been incarcerated have a higher risk of contracting hepatitis C. In addition, while household transmission is rare, it is possible to contract hepatitis C by sharing personal care items, such as razor blades or toothbrushes, which may have been exposed to blood.

Mother-to-child transmission is still a risk. For every 100 pregnant women with hepatitis C, about six babies will be born with the infection. The risk of transmission goes up if mothers are coinfected with HIV.

Image credit: wildpixel via Thinkstock.

Don’t Miss: How Would You Know If You Have Hepatitis C

Popular Articles
Related news