Hep C Is Passed On During Anal Sex Without A Condom, UK Study Confirms
Clinicians at the Mortimer Market Centre in central London have found that one in five HIV-positive gay men who recently acquired hepatitis C report anal sex without a condom as the only behavior that could explain their infection. Moreover, a one in three such a men acquiring hepatitis C were MSM who did not have HIV, according to the data published at the British HIV Association (BHIVA) conference in Liverpool last week.
Gay men living with HIV need to be informed that hepatitis C can be passed on through anal sex without a condom. HIV-negative gay men who can be identified as being at a higher risk of hepatitis C are recommended to performing a blood test for the virus. This also applies to PrEP users, men reporting chemsex or injecting drug use and the sexual partners of people with hepatitis C.
Current prevention tactics were based on preventing sexual practices which could result in trauma to the rectum such as fisting and use of sex toys. Sometimes this narrative was extended with additional reference to such behaviors as group sex and chemsex.
The data from the new Liverpool study suggest that prevention messages around sexually transmitted hepatitis C need to change.
It is conceivable that, previously, hepatitis C was concentrated in networks of HIV-positive men due to serosorting. While gay men starting using of PrEP and increasing knowledge of treatment as prevention may presently indicate that more HIV-negative gay men are having condomless sex with HIV-positive men and they may be exposed to hepatitis C while being shielded from HIV.
So gay men living with HIV need to be informed that hepatitis C can be passed on through anal sex without a condom.