Whos At Risk For Hepatitis C
You might be more likely to get it if you:
- Inject or have injected street drugs
- Were born between 1945 and 1965
- Got clotting factor concentrates made before 1987
- Received a blood transfusion or solid organ transplants before July 1992
- Got blood or organs from a donor who tested positive for hepatitis C
- Are on dialysis
- Get a body piercing or tattoo with nonsterile instruments
What Can I Do If I Think I Have Hepatitis C
A doctor or sexual health clinician can test you to see if you have hepatitis C. If you do, effective treatment with fewer side effects than the older medicine is available and you can discuss how to avoid infecting your sexual partners or people you live with.
It can take three to six months before the blood test for hepatitis C will be able to detect signs of infection in your blood. For people with HIV who may be immunocompromised, the antibody may not be detectable and it may be necessary to request an RNA test which detects the virus.
Lack Of Evidence For The Heterosexual Transmission Of Hepatitis C
http://qjmed.oxfordjournals.orgG. Neumayr, A. Propst, H. Schwaighofer, G. Judmaier and W. VogelFrom the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Innsbruck, AustriaReceived 14 April 1999 and in revised form 5 July 1999
Dr G. Neumayr, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
The use of advanced gene technology made possible the characterization of hepatitis C virus by Choo and coworkers in 1989. Soon HCV was identified as the major cause of non-A, non-B hepatitis worldwide.14 Epidemiological studies showed that its most efficient route of transmission is parenteral, by transfusion of blood or blood products, by intravenous drug abuse, occupational needle-stick injuries, haemodialysis and organ transplantation. Parenteral transmission is well established, and accounts for the high rates of HCV among haemophiliacs and intravenous drug users. In about 3040% of HCV cases, the routes of transmission remain unknown.5,6 Sexual transmission or other close human contact could play a role in these sporadic or community-acquired infections.
Frequencies between groups were compared using the 2 test and Fishers exact test. A p value of Results
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Gay Men Chemsex And Hep C
Group sex and chemsex parties provide the perfect storm for hepatitis C transmission.
If youre taking drugs and having sex for longer your inhibitions are likely to be lowered and the delicate skin lining the anus can be damaged, causing bleeding. Hep C is very infectious and is easily passed on through group sex it can even be passed from one person to another on fingers.
The virus spreads through anal sex and fisting when condoms and gloves are not used. Its also passed on during group sex, on objects such as sex toys, fingers, enema equipment, condoms, latex gloves or in contaminated lubricant.
The iBase guide Safer HCV sex for gay men is a useful reminder of what to avoid and what steps to take to protect yourself.
The Hepatitis C Trust has some useful information about transmission. They also provide an advocacy service for men who have sex with men who have been re-infected with hepatitis C after previously being successfully treated.
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.
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What Effects Does Hepatitis C Have During Pregnancy
Hepatitis C can be passed on from a pregnant woman to her child during pregnancy and birth, but this is rare. The risk of passing hepatitis on is slightly higher for mothers with both HIV and hepatitis C .
Antivirals used to treat hepatitis are not currently recommended for pregnant women. This is because there isnt enough information to know if the drugs are safe for your unborn baby.
If you have hepatitis C and are pregnant speak to your doctor. They will be able to give you advice on how to keep yourself and your baby safe during pregnancy and birth.
If youre planning to have a baby, your doctor may recommend that you treat the hepatitis C before you get pregnant.
Breastfeeding with hepatitis C is considered safe. But if you have cracked or bleeding nipples, its generally recommended to stop breastfeeding until they have healed.
How Hbv Is Spread
It is possible for the hepatitis B virus to be spread through the bodily fluids of an infected person, which is to say that the virus can be transmitted through the blood, sweat, tears, saliva, semen, vaginal secretions, menstrual blood, and breast milk of an infected person. That said, having hepatitis B does not necessarily mean that you are infectious only some people with HBV are actually contagious.
Opportunities for exposure can include sharing a syringe or getting tattoos or body piercings with infected tools. But it also means that it is possible to be exposed during childbirth as well as sexual contact and intercourse. In fact, nearly two-thirds of acute cases of hepatitis B in the United States are caused by sexual exposure.
Though HBV can be spread through blood, there is generally very little risk of contracting the virus through blood transfusions as most countries began screening for it by 1975.
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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.
Can You Contract Hepatitis C From Saliva
Nope! Finally, an easy question to answer. You cant contract hep C from kissing a person whos contracted the virus. Youre also in the clear if you want to share food or take a sip of their iced coffee.
But you probably shouldnt share a toothbrush with a person whos contracted hep C. You wont contract hep C from any spit on that shared toothbrush. But if someone living with hep C is experiencing bleeding gums, and that blood gets on the toothbrush you use for your mouth, you may contract the virus too.
Also, just dont share toothbrushes. No couple needs to be that close.
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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.
How Can I Protect Myself And Others
- Never share injecting drug equipment or things that may have blood on them such as toothbrushes and razors. Also avoid sharing straws or rolled up banknotes if snorting drugs with others.
- Use condoms for anal and vaginal sex and latex gloves for fisting.
- During group sex, cover anything which goes from one partner to another with a fresh condom or fresh latex glove for each new person it enters. Clean objects with warm water and anti-bacterial soap before using on a new partner.
- Dont share enema equipment or pots of lubricant.
If you have hepatitis C you may want to tell a partner and explain that youre infectious. They can then decide if they’re happy to take any risks and whether they want to take precautions. That way they cannot accuse you of infecting them without them knowing that the risk was there.
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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.
The Types Of Viral Hepatitis
There are five main types of viral hepatitis known as hepatitis A , hepatitis B , hepatitis C , hepatitis D , and hepatitis E . That said, there have been cases of acute hepatitis that could not be attributed to one of these five types of hepatitis viruses, alcohol, drugs, or autoimmune disease, which lead researchers to try to find another cause.
Though the etiology of these viruses have not yet been fully established, researchers have identified three other types of viral hepatitis , which they have named hepatitis F , hepatitis G , and transfusions transmitted virus . As relatively new diseases and viral discoveries, information about them and how they work is relatively scarce. We do know, however, that cases of TTV have only been associated with hepatitis in people who have had a blood transfusion.
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What Are The Chances Of Getting Hep C Sexually
Hepatitis C spreads by contact with an infected persons blood. Although uncommon, hepatitis C can be transmitted through sexual activity, if the person has genital sores and cuts. It can also be transmitted during menstruation. However, just 2% of hepatitis C cases are sexually transmitted.
The risk of getting hepatitis C sexually increases in the following situations:
- Men who have sex with men
Parenteral Routes: Transmission Of Hepatitis B Hepatitis D And Hepatitis C
Hepatitis B, C, and D viruses are all transmitted by what is known as the parenteral route. Parenteral simply means that these viruses can be introduced by all routes except through the intestinal tract, which leaves the door wide open in terms of possible exposure. Let’s look at the possible transmission routes for each of these types of hepatitis virus more closely.
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Why Getting Tested Is Important
A blood test is one of the only ways to confirm a diagnosis of hepatitis C. Additionally, hepatitis C often has no visible symptoms for many years.
Because of this, its important to be tested if you believe youve been exposed to the virus. Getting a timely diagnosis can help ensure you receive treatment before permanent liver damage occurs.
How Is Hepatitis C Treated
Treatment for hepatitis C depends on how long you have had the virus.
People with acute infection do not always need treatment because their immune system may clear hepatitis C on its own. If you test positive during the acute stage, your doctor may ask you to come back after a few months to re-test and to see if you need any treatment.
If you develop chronic infection, you will need treatment to help clear the virus. Treatment with drugs called direct-acting antivirals can cure hepatitis in most cases. These are usually taken for 8-12 weeks. Your doctor will also check your liver for any damage.
If youve had hepatitis C in the past, youre not immune to future infections which means you can get it again. You can also still get other types of hepatitis and having hepatitis C together with another type is more serious.
Whether you have symptoms or not, dont have sex until your healthcare professional says you can.
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Can You Be A Blood Or Organ Donor
People with hepatitis C cant currently donate blood. The American Red Cross eligibility guidelines prohibit people who have ever tested positive for hepatitis C from donating blood, even if the infection never caused symptoms.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services , information on organ donation, those with underlying medical conditions shouldnt rule themselves out as organ donors. This reflects new guidelines for organ donation announced by the HHS.
People with HCV are now able to be organ donors. This is because advances in testing and medical technology can help the transplant team determine which organs or tissues can be safely used for transplantation.
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.
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What Factors Are Linked To The Sexual Transmission Of Hepatitis C Among Gbmsm
A cluster of factors have been associated with the sexual transmission of hepatitis C.5,6 For sexual transmission of hepatitis C to occur, there must be exposure to the hepatitis C virus in one or more of these situations:
- condomless anal sex
- having an ulcerative STI
Drug use and sex
Where drug use is present, it is difficult to tease apart the extent to which drug use versus sex contributes to the transmission of hepatitis C. For example, party and play or chemsex is when certain drugs are used by gbMSM before or during sex to facilitate, sustain or enhance sexual encounters. The risk of hepatitis C transmission through party and play is twofold, through drug use and through sex. Hepatitis C can be acquired through shared drug use equipment. There is also concern that booty bumping or boofing can damage and/or irritate the tissue of the rectum, which could increase the risk of sexual transmission of hepatitis C.13 Party and play is also associated with types of sex that overlap with sexual risk factors for hepatitis C. For example, gbMSM who party and play are more likely to participate in condomless anal sex with one or more partners and participate in group sex compared with gbMSM who do not party and play.14 Thus, deciphering whether new hepatitis C infections among gbMSM who party and play were acquired through drug use or sex is challenging.
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Projected Sample Size And Other Statistical Analyses
Prior to study initiation, widths of confidence intervals around a prevalence estimate were calculated for a range of sample sizes. Given a 2%5% prevalence of HCV infection in sexual partners, the widths of CIs would be between 1% and 2% for a projected sample size of 1,000 couples and between 4% and 7% for a projected sample size of 300 couples.
Prevalence of anti-HCV positivity and 95% CIs were calculated for the partners of index subjects. Incidence of sexually acquired HCV infection was estimated per number of sexual contacts . Incidence density of HCV infection was calculated as the number of potential transmission events per total person-years of sexual relationship reported among partners. Duration of the sexual relationship was summed among the 500 partners to determine the total person-years of observation.
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