Which hepatitis is an STD?
Hepatitis A, B, and C can be sexually transmitted.
- Hepatitis A: Although the fecal-oral route is common for hepatitis A, the virus can also be transmitted from any sexual activity. The use of condoms does not effectively prevent the spread of hepatitis A.
- Hepatitis B: Sexual contact is the most common mode of Hepatitis B transmission in the United States. Compared to HIV, a hepatitis B infection is 50 to 100 times more likely to be transmitted sexually. The transmission risk is higher among unvaccinated people with risk behaviors like having multiple sex partners and men having sex with men (MSM).
- Hepatitis C: The Hepatitis C virus may be transmitted via sexual contact. However, studies have shown that such transmission is very rare. A higher rate of sexual transmission of the hepatitis C infection is seen in MSM, especially those who practice unprotected anal intercourse and have an infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
What are the chances of getting Hep C sexually?
Hepatitis C spreads by contact with an infected person’s blood. Although uncommon, hepatitis C can be transmitted through sexual activity, if the person has genital sores and cuts. It can also be transmitted during menstruation. However, just 2% of hepatitis C cases are sexually transmitted.
The risk of getting hepatitis C sexually increases in the following situations:
Can vaccines prevent the sexual transmission of hepatitis?
- Hepatitis A: Measures used to prevent the spread of STDs, like the use of condoms, do not prevent hepatitis A transmission. Fortunately, an effective vaccine for preventing Hepatitis A transmission is available and is the most important measure to protect people at risk of infection.
- Hepatitis B: A hepatitis B vaccine safely and effectively protects against infection of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have recommended the hepatitis B vaccination for:
- Sexually active people who are not in long-term, mutually monogamous relationships (e.g., people with more than one sex partner in the previous six months).
- People seeking evaluation or treatment for a sexually transmitted disease.
- CDC also recommends hepatitis B testing and hepatitis B vaccination for
- Sexual partners of people with hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis C: There is no vaccine available for hepatitis C. The most effective protection against hepatitis C is avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, like sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs and avoiding multiple sexual partners.
Do women have a higher risk of getting infected with hepatitis through sexual contact?
Sex does not determine the risk of being infected with hepatitis through sexual contact. The presence of behavioral and other risk factors may make a person vulnerable to getting hepatitis by sexual contact. Some studies, however, suggest that it is easier for a man to transmit HCV to a woman than vice versa. Furthermore, MSM are 10 to 15 times more at risk of getting infected with hepatitis B than the general population.
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