Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Is Hepatitis C Contagious Through Intercourse

What Is The Treatment For Hepatitis

A Deep Dive into Hepatitis C

Each type of hepatitis is treated differently.

Hepatitis A often goes away on its own and home treatment is all that is needed to help the liver recover, such as:

  • Rest
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Avoiding certain medicines that can be harmful to the liver

Hepatitis B often goes away on its own in about 6 months, and can also be treated at home with the above remedies. Other treatments for hepatitis B include:

Treatment for hepatitis C is effective on certain forms of the hepatitis C virus. The choice of medications depends on the type of hepatitis C you have, whether you have been treated for the illness before, how much liver damage has occurred, any other underlying medical issues, and other medicines you take. Treatment for hepatitis C usually involves 8 to 12 weeks of oral antiviral medications, such as:

  • Elbasvir-grazoprevir
  • Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir-voxilaprevir

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.

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.

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What Can Explain The Rates Of Sexually Acquired Hepatitis C Infection

There are several theories as to why gbMSM living with HIV are disproportionally affected by the sexual transmission of hepatitis C, in comparison with gbMSM without HIV. Some of the reasons may be related to having HIV. For example, HIV may contribute to a deterioration of the rectal mucous membrane of a person living with HIV, which may make it easier for the hepatitis C virus to pass through during receptive anal sex.6,10 There is also conflicting evidence about whether a low CD4 count may contribute to susceptibility to hepatitis C infection because of a suppressed immune system.6,16

With new, highly effective strategies to prevent HIV, such as PrEP and an undetectable HIV viral load, sexual networks of gbMSM with and without HIV may be overlapping more. Research analyzing strains of hepatitis C virus found that HIV-negative gbMSM taking PrEP have hepatitis C infections with virus strains that circulate in networks of HIV-positive gbMSM.5,16 PrEP is recommended for gbMSM who are considered at risk for HIV, including those who have condomless sex and/or have had an STI.4 These factors may also increase risk for sexual transmission of hepatitis C, which probably helps to explain the higher rates of new hepatitis C infections among gbMSM taking PrEP than among HIV-negative gbMSM who are not taking PrEP.

Should You Get Tested

Hepatitis C : Sign &  Symptoms, Transmission, Risk factors, Diagnosis ...

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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How Hepatitis C Is Spread During Sex

Hepatitis C is a viral infection of the liver. It can range in severity from a mild, short-lived illness to a serious, lifelong disease. The hepatitis C virus is spread primarily through contact with the blood of someone whos infected. Its still unclear whether the virus can live in saliva, semen, or vaginal secretions.

These factors increase the risk of spreading hepatitis C during sex:

  • Having multiple sex partners

  • Engaging in rough sex, which may lead to bleeding

  • Having a sexually transmitted disease

  • Being infected with HIV

Especially in those who have the above risk factors, hepatitis C can occasionally spread through vaginal intercourse. It might also spread through anal sex, which can damage the lining of the rectum, making it easier for the virus to gain access to the bloodstream. Its not known whether the hepatitis C virus can be passed during oral sex. There is no proof that this has ever happened. The virus is not spread by more casual contact, such as hugging or holding hands.

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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Why Is Needle Sharing So Dangerous

Sharing needles is the most common way people contract hepatitis C because the virus is transmitted via infected blood when a contaminated object is jabbed through the skin, touching an open wound. The virus can survive outside the human body for up to three weeks. Although hepatitis C is highly contagious, it cannot be transmitted by touching, kissing or coughing. It’s other modes of transmission, via sexual intercourse or from mother to child, are rare.

Before 1992 — the year blood screening for hepatitis C became available — blood transfusion was the leading mode of transmission in the United States. That’s one reason that baby boomers, or people born from 1945-1965, are five times more likely to have hepatitis C, according to the CDC, which recommends universal screening for this group. Baby boomers still comprise about 75% of all infections in the United States, but an alarming number of new infections are cropping up in people younger than 30 who share needles and other non-sterile equipment to inject drugs.

Image credit: diego_cervo for iStock via Thinkstock.

You Might Not Know You Have It

Florida Health Minute: Hepatitis C

Nearly half of people living with hepatitis C dont know they have it. Thats because most people live with the disease for years without feeling sick, or experiencing only minor symptoms such as fatigue. Frequently, the only indication of hepatitis C is an abnormal liver blood test panel. If you think you have been exposed to hepatitis C, be sure to talk to your physician.

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Sexually Transmitted Hepatitis C Virus Infections: Current Trends And Recent Advances In Understanding The Spread In Men Who Have Sex With Men

Bernadien M Nijmeijer

Department of Experimental Immunology, Amsterdam Infection and Immunity Institute, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Jelle Koopsen

Department of Medical Microbiology, Laboratory of Clinical Virology, Amsterdam Infection and Immunity Institute, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Department of Medical Microbiology, Laboratory of Clinical Virology, Amsterdam Infection and Immunity Institute, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Department of Infectious Diseases, Research and Prevention, Public Health Service of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

§Corresponding authors: Teunis BH Geijtenbeek, Department of Experimental Immunology, Amsterdam Infection and Immunity Institute, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Tel: +31-20-566 8590.

Department of Experimental Immunology, Amsterdam Infection and Immunity Institute, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

§Corresponding authors: Teunis BH Geijtenbeek, Department of Experimental Immunology, Amsterdam Infection and Immunity Institute, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Tel: +31-20-566 8590.

Bernadien M Nijmeijer

Jelle Koopsen

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 anal sex 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.

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General Tips For Prevention

Refrain from engaging in IV drug use and be cautious with all procedures that involve needles.

For example, you shouldnt share needles used for tattooing, piercing, or acupuncture. The equipment should always be carefully sterilized for safety. If youre undergoing any of these procedures in another country, always make sure the equipment is sterilized.

Sterile equipment should also be used in a medical or dental setting.

Hepatitis C Is The Most Common Type Of Chronic Viral Hepatitis In The United States

Is hepatitis C contagious?

Viral hepatitis is a group of infectious diseases that causes inflammation of the liver. There are five types of viral hepatitis, but the most common in the United States are hepatitis A, B and C.

Hepatitis A

If you travel internationally, you should be aware of your risks for hepatitis A. New cases most commonly result from American travelers who get infected while traveling to parts of the world where hepatitis A is common. Hepatitis A is spread by consuming food or water contaminated with fecal matter from an infected person, or by eating raw shellfish from water contaminated by sewage. Hepatitis A is an acute process. It never is a chronic disease and does not cause cirrhosis.

Prevention: The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for children people with certain risk factors and international travelers. It requires two rounds of shots to be effective. Washing your hands and avoiding unsanitary drinking water or food washed with unsanitary water is also important. If you become infected, your body is usually able to clear the infection itself within a few weeks.

Hepatitis B

Prevention: Doctors recommend that all children get the hepatitis B vaccine. If you become infected, hepatitis B can range from a mild illness to a serious condition requiring hospitalization, and in some cases, it can become a chronic, lifelong problem.

Hepatitis C

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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 .

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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Ways You Wont Spread Hepatitis C

There are some ways in which you wont spread HCV, though. Go ahead and let your significant other have a bite of your sandwich or dessert. According to the CDC, hepatitis C isnt spread by sharing silverware or drinking glasses, or through water or foods. Showing affection by holding hands, hugging, or kissing is also safe, Lee says. And although germs from sneezing or coughing might cause you to get a cold, they wont give you hepatitis C.

What Is The Risk For Travelers

NY Cures Hep C Campaign: Learn about Hepatitis C Transmission and Prevention? Animated Video

Hepatitis C is especially common in some regions of Asia and of Africa, but the disease can be found all over the world. Travelers are at relatively low risk for hepatitis C if they follow some simple protection measures. The people having unprotected sex, using injecting drugs, having their skin pierced by unsterilized needles or undergoing transfusions with unscreened blood face a considerably increased risk.

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Direct Exposure To Blood

Exposure to large amounts of contaminated blood increases the risk for hepatitis C transmission. If you get a cut and need help tending it, whoever helps you should first put on disposable gloves to prevent exposure in case he or she has a cut. You can also help prevent hepatitis C transmission by covering any cuts or sores with bandages until theyre healed and disposing of used bandages properly.

Uninfected people should take steps to avoid getting someone elses blood in their eyes, nose, and mouth. If an uninfected persons skin is exposed to contaminated blood, wash the area with soap and water immediately. If blood gets in the eyes, rinse them with running water right away and call a doctor to find out about further steps that should be taken.

When cleaning blood from surfaces, Dr. Lee recommends using a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water. Dried blood should also be handled with care because the virus can live for several days outside the body.

The CDC recommends that if youve ever tested positive for hepatitis C, you should abstain from donating blood, organs, or semen.

Causes Of Alcoholic Hepatitis

The liver is only capable of processing small amounts of alcohol at a time. Alcoholic hepatitis is the result of a person drinking so much alcohol that the liver cannot filter it all out.

An additional problem that contributes to alcoholic hepatitis is that when the liver breaks down alcohol, it metabolizes into toxic chemicals. These chemicals irritate the liver, cause inflammation, and destroy healthy cells in the liver.

The liver begins to be covered in scar tissue, which interrupts normal liver function . If drinking continues, the scarring becomes permanent, resulting in cirrhosis.

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Hepatitis C Transmission And Risks

TransmissionHepatitis C is transmitted when the blood of an infected person passes into the blood of an uninfected person. Hep C is most easily spread through direct blood-to-blood contact, such as:

  • Sharing needles and other equipment used to inject drugs. Injection drug users who share needles, syringes and paraphernalia associated with injecting are at the highest risk of HCV.
  • Blood transfusions and organ transplants before July 1992. Widespread screening of the blood supply in the United States began in 1992.
  • Sexual contact with someone who has HCV. The risk of becoming infected with hepatitis C through unprotected sexual intercourse is low-but it is still possible. HCV sexual transmission risk is higher among those who are HIV positive and in men who have sex with men . Sex with multiple partners, having a sexually transmitted disease, and rough sex may increase the risk of transmitting HCV sexually.
  • Having an HCV-positive mother. Women who are infected with hepatitis C have a 6 percent chance of passing the virus along to their babies during pregnancy or delivery. The risk increases significantly if the woman has HIV, hepatitis B or a high HCV viral load . The hepatitis C transmission risk is doubled or tripled in women with HIV. It is unlikely that hep C can be transmitted through breastfeeding or breast milk.

Although the risk is uncertain, you may also be at risk if you:

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