STDs Expert Forum
Hepatitis 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 C

Hi there. Just been something nagging me about Hepatitis C. I understand that it is quite difficult to catch through sexual activities. However, I had an encounter with somebody about a year ago that gave me some worry. I performed oral sex on her but later realised that I had a sore in my mouth. I had various STD tests a couple of months later including Hep C that all proved to be negative. However, I have recently learned that it can take up to 6 months for Hepatitis C to be detected. Is my risk low from that activity? If I had become infected how likely is that I could have passed it to my current partner, if not through sexual intercourse but if she had accidentally used my toothbrush, which I understand is a way of transmission?
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Welcome to the Forum.. I'll try to help.  concerns about hepatitis C as an STD are wildly over blown.  The infection is quite uncommon unless your partner is an IV drug user (past or present) and even then most people do not have infection. Hepatitis C IS OCCASIONALLY transmitted through receipt of receptive rectal intercourse.  Transmission is exceptionally rare among persons through vaginal intercourse and I am not aware of any cases reported to have occurred following either giving or receiving oral sex- none!  Further, while THEORETICALLY possible, transmission through immediate sharing of a toothbrush is simply not seen.  

In your own case, your negative test, combined with the tiny risk for infection, virtually assures you that you are not infected. From a medical perspective there is no reason for concern or for further testing.

I  hope these comments are helpful.  Please don't worry. EWH
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Thank you very much for your answer.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
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