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and Hepatitis.com Coverage of the
50th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC 2010)
Heterosexual Sex Not a Major Risk Factor for Hepatitis C Virus Transmission
Over the past decade, researchers have reported several outbreaks of acute hepatitis C among men who have sex with men that appear to be due to sexual transmission. This conflicts with public health guidelines stating that sexual transmission of HCV is uncommon, but these were based on studies of monogamous heterosexual couples.
further light on this issue, Monina Klevens from the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and colleagues collected data from
surveillance of new HCV infections reported during 2005-2009 by health
departments in Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Oregon, and 34 counties
in New York State.
departments collected demographic and clinical data for each case, and
asked patients or their healthcare providers for information about 21
potential HCV risk behaviors occurring 2 weeks to 6 months before the
onset of symptoms.
Based on these findings, the investigators stated that most people with acute HCV infection who had 1 or more heterosexual partners also had other risk factors, and concluded that "heterosexual transmission may not be an important risk factor for HCV in the U.S."
Investigator affiliations: CDC, Atlanta, GA; Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment, Denver, CO; Connecticut Dept. of Public Health, Hartford, CT; Minnesota Dept. of Health, St. Paul, MN; New York State Dept. of Health, Albany, NY; Oregon Public Health Div., Portland, OR.