Unprotected sex ups hepatitis risk

Published: October 21, 2011

A new study has found that HIV-infected men who have unprotected sex with other men (MSM) are at increased risk for contacting hepatitis C virus (HCV) through sex.
 
HCV transmission primarily occurs through exposure to blood, and persons who inject drugs at greatest risk.
 
But when Mount Sinai researchers observed a large increase in the number of new cases of HCV transmission among HIV-infected men who did not inject drugs, they took a closer look to examine the role of sexual transmission among these men.
 
The researchers identified 74 HIV-infected men between October 2005 and December 2010 who had documented new HCV infection and yet reported no other risk factor for HCV infection, including injection drug use.
 
And they found that the men who had recently contracted HCV were 23 times more likely to have had unprotected anal sex with men.
 
In addition, HCV genetic analysis suggested that HCV was transmitted within social networks of these men, consistent with the presence of a city-wide epidemic.

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