The question of whether Hepatitis C is a sexually transmitted disease comes up quite regularly and is inevitably controversial. In this post, I will answer the question using the combination of the most recent scientific research and personal experience.
The short answer to the question “Is Hepatitis C a sexually transmitted disease?” is “No, Hepatitis C is not a sexually transmitted disease.”
Research shows that the chance of catching, or transmitting, Hepatitis C through vaginal sex is about 200,000 in one. In other words, if you were to have sexual intercourse 200,000 times there is one chance you might catch Hep C from an infected partner.
To put this in a real world context; I had Hepatitis C for the first 35 years of my marriage. My wife and I were sexually active all through those years and my wife did not catch Hep C from me. I have heard the same experience from many other couples.
To put this in perspective, according to my maths, you would need to have sex 20 times a day every day for more than 20 years to have one chance of catching Hepatitis C through vaginal sexual intercourse. Hepatitis C can only be transmitted through blood-to-blood contact.
However, in extremely rare cases, Hep C can be transmitted during sexual activity if there is blood leakage from both people engaged in the sexual act. The most likely scenario for this to occur is during vaginal sex where the vagina is not well lubricated. This may result in microscopic tears in the tissue of the vagina and the penis, which may enable blood to blood transmission.
The most common sexual act that provides for blood mingling is anal sex because there may be micro-tears in the soft tissue of the anus and in the skin of the penis. In this situation minute amounts of blood may carry the virus from the infected partner to the uninfected partner.
Greg’s blog is reprinted with permission, and the views are entirely his.