I recently became involved with a woman whom immediately told me of her infection of Hepatitis C. Of course I have plenty of questions. First of all what is the risk for female to female contact? She was diagnosed in 1996 and received treatment at that time. She seems to believe she no longer has the disease. I read about it being "cleared"--what exactly does that mean? We did go to the doctor together yesterday and had a whole panel of blood draws for both of us so we both know where we stand. The doctor drew a "viral load" on her. What exactly does that mean? Is anyone ever really "cured" or is there always a risk of sexual transmission with someone who has been previously diagnosed? Any and all help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!:)
Wow, there’s a lot to explain. The most important thing to remember is that if your friend doesn’t have a viral load, she doesn’t have Hep C (HCV). Viral load is a measure of HCV RNA, the active, live virus; without this, even if she remains antibody positive, she can’t infect anyone.
Even if she is RNA positive, the likelihood of you contracting it from her either sexually or from casual contact is extremely low. Hep C isn’t considered a classic STD, despite public belief to the contrary.
Many of us have partners that are HCV discordant; that is, one partner is infected, and one that isn’t. I was married for nearly twenty years, infected the entire time, and my now ex continues to test negative for virus.
For your partner’s sake, I hope her test is negative; if not, have her stop by in here; we can help her navigate the maize of options.
Be sure to have her doctor review her condition, and explain the difference between being antibody positive (or negative) and RNA positive; there’s a big difference.
If she *does* have a viral load, avoid sharing razors, toothbrushes, etc; HCV is transmitted by blood-to blood contact.
Thanks tremendously for your quick response and I am definitely going to check out the website. This is all so confusing, but I am willing to learn and accept her regardless. It's just of a part of her, not all of her. Thanks for any more information.
I did get on the website Bill mentioned and it is a wealth of information. And you are correct in your thinking about her honesty. I am sure it is not easy to divulge such information, especially so early into a relationship. We should get her results by Wed. so I may be back with more questions. Thanks so much for all of your help.
I cannot imagine hep C being transmitted through lesbian sex if you simply keep in mind that hep C is transmitted blood-to-blood. The classic transmission rout is from blood transfusion from an infected person and sharing needles with an infected person either through IV drug use or inadvertently through unsterile medical or dental practices.
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