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Coping With Hepatitis C

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Talking to Your Partner About Hepatitis C

Because hepatitis C can be spread sexually, it's especially important to talk to your partner or spouse about it.

Fortunately, the risks of catching the virus through sex are low. Of course, if you have multiple sexual partners, you should still use a condom. Condoms protect them from hepatitis C and protect you from dangerous sexually transmitted diseases. But if you're in a long-term monogamous relationship, the CDC considers the risk of sexual transmission of hepatitis C so low that it doesn't even recommend using protection.

"It's very reassuring to people [in monogamous relationships] when they find out that they don't need to change their sex practices," Franciscus tells WebMD. Still, never keep your partner in the dark about your condition. You need to talk about it.

David Thomas, MD, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, says that he always makes sure that his patients with hepatitis C bring their spouses along to at least one appointment. In part, he says, it's to make sure that both people fully understand the risks of sexual transmission.

Thomas says that people react very differently to the news. Some couples are comfortable with the small risk and don't feel like they need to use condoms. Others are more nervous and want to use protection. There's no right answer. The key is this: You and your partner must talk about it openly and come to a decision together.
 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on September 30, 2012
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