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Am I at risk
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Am I at risk

After dating my boyfriend for over a year, I've discovered through paperwork in his filing cabinet that he has hep c. When confronted, he said it was from drug use as a teenager and can not me transmitted through sex. There are many different theories online about this, and I am panicking. What is the truth.  
31 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
         every hep website i read states sex contact is a very low risk. personally i dont know anyone who was infected sexually.  my liver docs have been unanimous, in not recommending protection with people who are monogamous.  
barry
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Avatar_f_tn
It is not sexually transmitted, less than 1% chance,  but I did get it from my boyfriend ...over a year into our relationship and several months after he moved in with me. I know exact date because I donated blood in october 2012 with no problems, but was tested positive for antibody in February 2013. I am one of the lucky ones as my body fought the virus off (cant donate blood anymore though ).  We are still together and he is undergoing treatment currently. I insist on using protection untill he is cleared of virus. I would suggest not to panic, get tested to be sure, and use protection just to be safe.
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317787_tn?1373214989
Hi there! I am sorry you found out this way. It has to be disturbing to find out he hid this from you. I know it would bother me to find out like this.
It is very rare to transmit it sexually though it can happen from what I understand it happens more in situations of sex where both are bleeding since it can only be transmitted through blood.
It can also be transmitted through sharing straws with infected people when snorting drugs.  People are advised not to share razors, fingernail clippers or tooth brushes.
I feel bad for you. If I were you I would not be happy with this guy. What if you used his tooth brush?..or razor? You would think he would care enough to either tell you or be very careful with his tooth brush. clippers razors.

Again it is rare, take care
Dee
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, Since we have been married my husband has been HCV pos, although we did not know. The chances of sexual transmission are very very low. The best thing is to get yourself tested. When my husband got his diagnosis, I did that and was negative. But I do think he should have told you so that you can make your own decisions. Good luck
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4113881_tn?1401895587
Here's a link to a great pod cast you can listen to. Its only 16 minutes and is about sexual transmission of the virus and its based on statistics from a study done on 500 couples in which one person in the relationship had HCV. Very informative and may put your mind at ease.

http://hepatitiscnewdrugs.blogspot.ca/2013/04/aasld-podcast-sexual-transmission-of.html

Also, I was married and did not pass the virus to my ex wife.
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1840891_tn?1383280315
Just adding my two cents: your risk is extremely low, and what little risk there is, is probably more from sharing razors, toothbrushes, or nail clippers. I've been since 1976 and acquired Hepatitis C in 1984 from a transfusion, but wasn't diagnosed until around 1990. I was trying to get pregnant (unsuccessfully) during those years, so we were having a lot of sex and weren't using any condoms. My husband was never infected. Once my diagnosis was made my hepatologist said sexual transmission was so unlikely that we really didn't need to take any precautions. My husband is tested every couple of years and is still negative.

In spite of the low risk, it was either thoughtless or cowardly of your boyfriend not to tell you he is infected. it is transmitted blood to blood, and you will want to be careful about exposing yourself to his blood when you have any open wound or possibility of a cut.
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1840891_tn?1383280315
That was supposed to read "been married since 1976". Typing on an iPhone can be difficult!
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Avatar_m_tn
"The results of this study provide quantifiable risk information for counseling long-term monogamous heterosexual couples in which 1 partner has chronic HCV infection," the study authors concluded. "In addition to the extremely low estimated risk for HCV infection in sexual partners, the lack of association with specific sexual practices provides unambiguous and reassuring counseling messages."

"Sexual transmission of HCV among monogamous heterosexual couples is an extremely infrequent event," they elaborated in their discussion. "Condom use was infrequent among the study participants and decreased over the duration of the sexual relationship, indicating that the very low rate of sexual transmission in our study population was not due to use of barrier methods during sexual activity."

"These results "support the current national recommendations that couples not change their sexual practices if they are in a monogamous heterosexual relationship," they concluded"

http://www.hivandhepatitis.com/hepatitis-c/hepatitis-c-topics/hcv-prevention/3904-hepatitis-c-sexual-transmission-is-rare-among-monogamous-heterosexual-couples
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I agree though he should have told you... Best to you
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Avatar_f_tn
I contracted hep C genotype 1a in 2011. I was dating a man who did not tell me he had in until way into the relationship and all the while he was having unprotected sex with me. I was actually tested for hep c just before I started dating him and I was negative however after I found out he had it and I got tested I found out he had in fact given it to me :( it was the most devastating thing I've ever been through. I am a single mom and my youngest was only 4 when I found out. I started treatment a few months after being diagnosed (within the first year of contracting it) and completed 7 months of triple therapy treatment. It was horrible and I was bed ridden about 5 out of 7 days a week. I did achieve SVR thank god but now 9 months post treatment I am still recovering and experiencing side effects!

I am currently suing the man who did this to me. I pray u are ok and you not any other woman will have to go through what I have been through. I believe it should be a crime to do what this man did to me. He knowingly gave me a deadly disease and I hope they make this issue as serious as it is when an aids victim does this to another human being.

U will be in my prayers!
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Avatar_f_tn
EVERYONE WHO SAYS ITS NOT SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED IS DEAD WRONG! I am living proof!

This disease is absolutely one you can get sexually! Trust me I did!  I recommend u get tested every 3 months for the next year. That is what my dr told me after I found out I had been exposed. My first test was negative. My second test was positive. Also, I was very aware something was wrong as I got extremely tired. I didn't want to eat much either I just felt overall not well. And I had pain in my stomach that to me felt like was around my bladder area. I actually kept thinking I was getting a bladder infection but I found out later that it was most likely the virus and my liver I was feeling which I mistook for something else. This experience has changed me forever and I hope more people become aware of how real the possibility is of catching this sexually!

Again I hope uR ok! Best wishes and keep me posted.
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Avatar_f_tn
hi and welcome to the forum personally i would be more worried by the fact he didnt tell you i have been with hubby on& off for 36yrs he got hepc back then when not alot was known about it he now finished his tx and he is SVR when he first started tx i was tested and i was negetive i know that it not really smart but i always use his razors but still ok. I know that chances through having intercourse are very slim, but if you are worried have a test. Best wishes to you both
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Avatar_f_tn
My husband and I have been married 30 years. He was feeling ill a year ago. Diagnosed with hep c. He had a blood transfusion in 78 so assumes that is when he was infected. I was tested shortly after him and I have hep c as well. No idea how I got it but assuming it was from him as I have none of the risk factors. I have genotype 3 and he has 1A.  I am in week 10 of treatment and after 4 weeks it is undetectable. His is harder to cure docs say so he has to wait for new drugs to come along. There are lots of studies about cannibas oil curing cancers and lots of other diseases. He is going that route after watching how sick I am on this treatment. Can't function, low hemoglobin and just sick all the time. Check out " run from the cure: its interesting to see what a plant can do to fix your body. All the best to you.
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Avatar_f_tn
http://www.natap.org/2005/HCV/033005_02.htm
Norah A. Terrault, M.D., M.P.H. 1
1Division of Gastroenterology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California
This link takes you to an editorial by a renowned Hepatologist who states that it is such a low risk that couples do not need to use condoms.

I was infected before I was married (it was unkown to me) and had 4 children with my husband who never contracted HCV.

It is certainly possible to get HCV from your partner if there is blood contact between you. Sharing a toothbrush (bleeding gums), razors or a even nail clippers are risk factors.

For that reason alone he should have shared this information with you.

Good luck to you.
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Avatar_m_tn
"No idea how I got it but assuming it was from him as I have none of the risk factors. I have genotype 3 and he has 1A.

Since you both have different genotypes there is no possible way you got it from him...........Good luck
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Avatar_f_tn
can-do-man is right. he is a different type to you,
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1840891_tn?1383280315
I guess it is human nature to obsess over how one acquires this kind of virus, and since nearly all of us have sex, it becomes a frequent target for the blame. The simple truth is that all of us have had many inconspicuous little occasions when we might have been exposed. Since it passes from blood to blood and most sex doesn't involve both partners bleeding (it would be a lot less popular if it did), sex is an extremely unlikely route. On the other hand, most of us have had dental and medical care, most of us have cut our hair and/or nails, most of us have used sharp implements for all sorts of things. Anytime any kind of sharp tool gets infected blood on it and isn't properly sterilized, and is used on another person within a fairly short period of time, this can pose some risk. In the last ten or fifteen years there has been a huge amount of education going on so these risks are many times less than they used to be, but if you are past about 25 you've been around long enough to have possibly been exposed before so many people knew about it. Tattoos or  piercings anyone? Mass immunization efforts in the past, manicures or shaves? Most facilities are carefully regulated and follow good practices now, but this wasn't always the case. It gets ridiculous to try to figure out all the possibilities. I generally presume mine came from a blood transfusion in 1984, but I don't know this for certain. Maybe it really came from my ear piercings back in 1968, or a careless dentist, or from medical care I required while working with the Peace Corps in Guatemala in 1981-82. I'll never really know for sure, and it really doesn't matter.
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Avatar_f_tn
Great post on how you can get hepatitis C.  They should make a copy of your post and give it to people who choose not to be tested at their yearly physical exam.....With a pamphlet on end stage liver disease.
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568322_tn?1370169040
When they were looking at transmission risks, they looked at hemophiliacs because they have a high rate of Hep C from having received multiple transfusions. However, none of the partners had Hep C.  So that certainly speaks against sexual transmission.

The symptoms you mention don't usually happen so soon after exposure....and the bladder and liver are nowhere near.  There is no way you could have had liver pain on the bladder area.  Here's a picture so you can see how far apart they are.

.http://publications.nigms.nih.gov/findings/feb04/lau_files/textmostly/slide7.html

Co  
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Avatar_m_tn
EVERYONE WHO SAYS ITS NOT SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED IS DEAD WRONG! I am living proof!
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Your recent post in capital letters might give one to believe that HCV is highly contagious by sexual means and this has proven by research to not be the case.

You may very well have contracted the virus by this means however given the research done and the 100's of members here if not 1000' s I have seen post  who say their spouse has not been infected  after usually decades of being together it seems to be an extremely rare mode of transmission.( a link below)

Congrats on your SVR..
Will

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Hepatitis-C/Am-I-at-risk/show/202463

Heterosexual Partners rarely infected.

The risk of sexually transmitting a chronic hepatitis C infection to a long-term monogamous heterosexual partner is very low, averaging just about 1% per year. That risk level works out to a transmission rate of about one in every 190,000 sexual contacts, Dr. Norah Terrault and her colleagues reported in Hepatology (2013;57:881-9).

The cross-sectional study also found that no one sexual practice – including anal intercourse or inter- course during menses – significantly increased the risk of transmission, wrote Dr. Terrault of the University of California, San Francisco.
The findings can be used to provide “unambiguous and reassuring counseling messages,” she and her coinvestigators noted. The study included 500 subjects with chronic HCV infections, and their sexual partners.



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Avatar_m_tn
That was the wrong link..

http://hepatitiscnewdrugs.blogspot.ca/search/label/transmission
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96938_tn?1189803458
Must have been an interesting conversation: "When I was going through you personal papers in you filing cabinet I found out you had HCV"  I guess you both learned something about each other.....
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Avatar_m_tn
A relationship built on trust FLguy......
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Avatar_m_tn
"I was dating a man who did not tell me he had in until way into the relationship and all the while he was having unprotected sex with me"

Just say NO
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Avatar_f_tn
"A very low risk" does not = hep C isn't transmitted sexually. It means if you didn't get it from your partner who is infected you were lucky because you could have. And I did. And I discussed the pain I had with my doctors and they are the ones who told me it was most likely the infection From Hep C that I was mistaking for something else. And when infected with Hep C people do get symptoms most people just blow them off as something else. In the first 6 months of infection it's very common to have flu like symptoms. AND I DID. I was very aware that something was wrong.

But I find it funny how people who are infected always want to minimize the disease and insist sex is safe. It's actually not. I know exactly where when and how I caught this disease so I'm just sharing my experience here. I think we all think "it won't happen to me" but when it does... If you take the chance with a partner and give it to them.. Then what will you say? Oh wow!!! Sorry!! I guess your one of the 3%! My bad!!!??? I just think as the infected person it's so imp to take responsibility and be careful. My partner didn't tell me. He didn't give me the opportunity to choose what to do....

Best of luck to all of you. And I hope each of you that is infected has the easiest time possible on treatment and that you achieve SVR. But don't fool yourselves or your partners they can get it from you and if they haven't YET they are lucky.
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1840891_tn?1383280315
I'm sorry you had to go through all this, and that your partner didn't inform you he had HCV, that was horribly selfish of him, and he could have easily spread it to you if you so much as mixed up your two razors one day or both cut yourself with a particularly sharp kitchen tool. From the studies I've seen and from the direct advice given to me and my husband, the actual risk of sexual transmission is FAR less than 3%. I don't remember the numbers I've heard because they were so low as to be statistically equivalent to zero. My HCV was one of the earliest cases diagnosed, as I'd previously been diagnosed with non-A/non-B hepatitis for several years, and I was immediately sent to one of the top early HCV researchers. My doctor also was studying the transmission of the virus and he took blood samples and really thorough history of my husband as part of this study. We had been married for 10 years already at that time, and had an extremely active sexual relationship which barely slowed down for menses. After he completed his study we were told the risk of transmission via sex or via any bodily fluids other than blood was essentially zero and were advised that sexual precautions were completely unnecessary, but that we did need to be careful with blood. We started being cautious with sex around menses (but only then). My husband doesn't shave, so there was never any risk from accidentally sharing a razor, and he already did most of the cooking so there was little risk from kitchen accidents. We've been cautious about any accidental cuts I might get, and I've always extended that courtesy to everyone, everywhere, never allowing anyone to provide first aid or to draw blood without warning them. I'm so committed to the effort not to spread it that I used to actually have recurrent nightmares about being in a bloody accident but being unconscious and unable to warn any good Samaritans!

My hepatologist gave us that advice about 23 years ago. My husband has been tested regularly with his physicals and is negative each time. There may have been an occasional researcher who gets slightly higher transmission numbers, but I think the overwhelming majority of studies have confirmed that HCV is not sexually transmitted. Your HCV probably arose from some other as yet undiscovered source.

A quick googling of "risk sexual transmission hepatitis c" came up with a 2004 report which followed 895 HCV patients who had sex an average of 1.8 times per week. Over 10 years time a total of 3 of the partners of these patients acquired HCV, but genetic analysis of their virus ruled out the possibility that any of these 3 infections had been acquired from their infected partner, so in the end zero were transmitted sexually. I also tried googling "proven sexual transmission hepatitis c", but couldn't readily find any papers that purport to show sexual transmission, except in cases of co-infection with HIV. Any evidence of sexual transmission appears to be purely circumstantial, as in they can't find any other sure method of transmission. I think that kind if evidence could just as easily be twisted to "prove" transmission by just about anything.

I just wanted to clarify this in case someone new to the illness might read this thread. It is depressing enough to get this diagnosis without feeling like one has to also give up sex. It's critically important to INFORM your prospective partner before having sex with them, but the best evidence shows that sexual transmission is damn unlikely if not impossible. The fact that no one can prove that sexual transmission is never possible under any circumstances means that you must allow your partner to make their own decision, but you don't have to feel like a pariah while telling them, as many people acquire it in many quite innocent ways. You are only a pariah if you DON'T tell them first.
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Avatar_m_tn

We can choose to ignore study data ,however such has shown this:

That risk level works out to a transmission rate of about one in every 190,000 sexual contacts, Dr. Norah Terrault and her colleagues reported in Hepatology (2013;57:881-9).

Ihttp://hepatitiscnewdrugs.blogspot.ca/search/label/transmission


I daresay that leaves me out as the method I contracted it................

Will
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1652596_tn?1342015226
i had hep c for 37 years.  i had 2 boys and they don't have it.  my husband has been with me for 32 years and neither does he.  belle
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1840891_tn?1383280315
Thanks Will, I knew there had to be some recent hard data but I didn't find it in my quick searches. That number (1 in 190,000) is right in the ballpark of my personal description of "damned unlikely."
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Avatar_f_tn
I wish my experience was like yours. I am just sharing my experience with you and I was that unlucky person. I never shared a toothbrush or a razor with my partner. Sex was my only exposure. That was how I got it but I wish my story was that I was the partner who never had a problem.

Best of luck to all of you.

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Avatar_f_tn
http://sexandhepc.com/odds.html
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882970_tn?1241837633
thank you for all your comments... i guess the next step is to call my doctor... terrified.
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