STDs Expert Forum
Hepatitis B & C
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Hepatitis B & C

Quick questions:

1) What is the accuracy of a Hep B and Hep C test 10 weeks after potential exposure? I don't know if it was for the antibody or antigen so if you can consider both.

2) What is the likelihood of getting Hep B or Hep C from oral sex from a woman (I am a man).

Many thanks.

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Question 2 first:  For practical purposes, zero risk. Oral sex is safe sex with respect to most STDs, including hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV, HCV).  To my knowledge, oral transmission has never been reported to occur for either virus.  That doesn't mean it cannot happen, but it is very rare for HBV and probably never happens with HCV.  Contrary to popular opinion, HCV rarely is sexually transmitted at all -- that's pretty much limited to occasional transmission by anal sex among men who have sex with men, and even there it isn't common.

Question 1:  For those reasons, had you come to my STD clinic, we would not have tested you for HBV or HCV, even if you requested it.  But the test results are 100% reliable by 10 weeks, so you can be sure you weren't infected.  Routine testing is for antibody to HCV and both antibody and antigen for HBV.

Bottom line:  You were not at sufficient risk for either virus to be tested, and the negative results at 10 weeks prove it didn't happen.

Regards--- HHH, MD
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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