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HCV Transmission Risk Is Low in Monogamous Couples

Related study finds hepatitis C virus prevalence among inmates to be about one percent

HCV Transmission Risk Is Low in Monogamous Couples

MONDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- Monogamous heterosexual couples where one partner is infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) are at very low risk of transmitting the virus to the uninfected partner, according to a study in the March issue of Hepatology. A related study in the same journal found that the prevalence of HCV infection among newly incarcerated inmates is about 1 percent.

Arthur Y. Kim, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted health assessments for 6,342 newly incarcerated inmates over an 18-month period, and of these, 3,470 were screened for HCV infection. The researchers identified 1.9 patients/month, with an estimated prevalence of about 1 percent.

Norah A. Terrault, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues assessed the risk of HCV transmission among 500 anti-HCV-positive, HIV-negative individuals and their heterosexual partners in monogamous relationships. After 8,377 person-years of follow-up, the researchers found that the maximum incidence rate of HCV sexual transmission was 0.07 percent per year, or about one in 190,000 sexual contacts.

"In conclusion, HCV transmission by sex from chronically infected persons to their heterosexual partners in a long-term monogamous relationship likely occurs, but is a rare event," Terrault and colleagues write.

One author from the first study disclosed consulting work for Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

Abstract - Kim
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Abstract - Terrault
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