Hepatitis and Sex Questions: Transmission, Kissing, Condoms


There are at least 5 types of viral hepatitis. Among these, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are the major trouble makers. Sexual activities are one of the most common way people get hepatitis. Here are what you should know to protect yourself:

Can all types of hepatitis transmit through sexual contact?

Hepatitis A transmits through the fecal-oral route. This can occur if there is direct contact between the mouth and anus or contact with objects that have been in touch with the anus of an infected person. Hepatitis B can be easily spread through sex (via vaginal secretions, saliva, and semen.) Oral sex and anal sex are possible means of transmission. Hepatitis B does not spread through casual contact such as holding hands, hugging, or even dry kissing. It’s not clear if the virus can transmit through exposure to infected saliva. However, there are traces of the virus in saliva of infected people, so, there’s a risk of transmission with deep kissing. Hepatitis C transmits through contact with infected blood, which may come from genital sores, cuts, or menstruation. Hepatitis C is more prevalent in people with a history of sexually transmitted disease, sex with a prostitute, or multiple partners.

Are men and women equally at risk?

The risk of getting hepatitis depends on the person’s behavior, not gender. However, there are a few studies suggesting that a man is more likely to transmit hepatitis C to a woman than vice versa. Men who are in a same-sex relationship are 10 to 15 times more likely to get hepatitis B.

How to know if my partner is free of hepatitis?

Unfortunately, people with hepatitis often look healthy without any warning symptoms, even if they are already in the advanced stage. The only way to deal with this is talking openly with your partner about the risk of hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases. However, if you partner has yellow skin or eyes (jaundice), you may need to think twice before getting intimate with him or her. Other red flags include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, joint or abdominal pain, and clay-colored bowel movements.

Can you get hepatitis through vibrators and sex toys?

It’s possible to get hepatitis through contact with vibrators and sex toys since hepatitis B virus may survive out side the body for more than a week. You may reduce your risk of getting hepatitis by sterilizing the toys in boiling water. However, it’s best to stay away from those until you are sure your partner is free of hepatitis and has been vaccinated.

Can condoms prevent hepatitis?

It’s believed that latex condoms are 99% effective in protecting against hepatitis. Unless both you and your partner are committed with each other and have no sexual activities outside your relationship, you should always use a latex condom. Experts believe plain condoms are the optimal choice. Condoms which are flavored or scented may not be as effective. Don’t use an oil-based lubricant since it may wear down latex.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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