Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sex between monogamous heterosexuals rarely source of hepatitis C infection, study suggests

Date:
March 19, 2013
Source:
Wiley
Summary:
Individuals infected by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have nothing to fear from sex in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship. Transmission of HCV from an infected partner during sex is rare according to new research.

Individuals infected by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have nothing to fear from sex in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship. Transmission of HCV from an infected partner during sex is rare according to new research published in the March issue of Hepatology, a journal published by Wiley on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

Experts estimate that HCV affects up to 4 million Americans, most of whom are sexually active. Medical evidence shows HCV is primarily transmitted by exposure to infectious blood, typically through intravenous (IV) drug use. However, there are conflicting reports regarding sexual activity and HCV transmission with some studies suggesting that exposure to infected blood during sex—through bodily fluids such as vaginal secretions, semen or saliva—may carry a minimal infection risk.

“Generally the risk for transmitting HCV to sex partners is very low,” explains lead study author Dr. Norah Terrault with the University of California, San Francisco. “Yet, lack of quantitative data about the risk of HCV transmission with sexual activity remains a limitation for doctors counseling their patients on safe sex practices.”

To specifically quantify the risk HCV transmission from a chronically infected individual to their sex partner, researchers recruited 500 anti-HCV-positive individuals, who were negative for the human immunodeficiency (HIV), and their long-term heterosexual partners. Couples were surveyed about lifetime risk factors for HCV infection, sexual practices of the couple, and sharing of personal items. The team analyzed blood samples to determine the presence or absence of active virus in the blood and compared the HCV strains in those couples with HCV present.

The majority of HCV infected individuals who participated in the study were non-Hispanic whites, had a median age of 49 years, and sexual activity with their partners ranging from 2 to 52 years. HCV prevalence among partners was 4%, with 9 couples having similar viral strains and viral samples from 3 couples were highly related which is consistent with HCV transmission between the partners.

The maximum incidence rate of HCV transmission by sex was 0.07% per year or roughly 1 per 190,000 sexual contacts that researchers based upon 8377 person-years of follow-up. The team did not identify any specific sexual practices linked to HCV infections among the couples. “Our study provides clinicians with important information for counseling chronic HCV patients in long-term sexual relationships, supporting the current recommendations that couples not change their sexual practices if they are in a monogamous heterosexual relationship,” concludes Dr. Terrault.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Norah A. Terrault, Jennifer L. Dodge, Edward L. Murphy, John E. Tavis, Alexi Kiss, T. R. Levin, Robert G. Gish, Michael P. Busch, Arthur L. Reingold, Miriam J. Alter. Sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus among monogamous heterosexual couples: The HCV partners study. Hepatology, 2013; 57 (3): 881 DOI: 10.1002/hep.26164

Cite This Page:

Wiley. "Sex between monogamous heterosexuals rarely source of hepatitis C infection, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130319124105.htm>.
Wiley. (2013, March 19). Sex between monogamous heterosexuals rarely source of hepatitis C infection, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130319124105.htm
Wiley. "Sex between monogamous heterosexuals rarely source of hepatitis C infection, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130319124105.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins