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Transmission (HCV) “Safer Sex Practice for Chronic HCV Carriers: Is It Necessary?”

A.R. Davis and A.M. Kowalik.. Affiliations not provided.

According to an abstract submitted by the authors to the First Australasian Conference on Hepatitis C, held March 16-18, 1997, in Sydney, Australia, “The efficiency of sexual transmission of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an important issue for individuals with HCV infection and the role of sexual transmission in the epidemiology of HCV infection continues to be debated. In particular, whether HCV-discordant couples in established monogamous relationships should be advised to use condoms is controversial. We have routinely offered testing of the current heterosexual partner to Sydney donors identified anti-HCV positive attending for follow-up since January 1994. As at September 1996, the partners of 40 such donors had been tested. Only one of the 40 partners tested anti-HCV positive. This partner had an independent established parenteral risk factor for HCV infection. The median duration of the couples sexual relationships was five years (range four months to 42 years). Thirty-eight couples reported rarely or never using condoms in their sexual relationships; two couples reported using condoms for the majority but not all of their sexual relationships. Our findings support larger epidemiological studies in blood donors, multiply transfused patients and recipients of contaminated Rh anti-D immunoglobulin which suggest that heterosexual transmission of HCV is extremely uncommon. We counsel couples in established monogamous relationships that it is probably unnecessary to modify their sexual practice, other than to consider using condoms during menstruation, anal intercourse or when genital ulceration is present.”

Blood Weekly, September 29, 1997, Research from Conferences, p. 19.

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