sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus

Last reviewed 01/2018

  • sexual transmission of hepatitis C is possible but uncommon
    • prevalence of hepatitis C among attendees of genitourinary clinics who are either heterosexuals (non-injecting) or men who have sex with men, is relatively low, 0.3 to 0.8%
    • there is a 3% lifetime risk of transmission if the partner is positive
    • in men who have sex with men recent changes in sexual practices may have led to a number of cases of HCV infection. Several hundred such infections have been seen in London and Brighton over the last few years and, although the precise risk factor is not yet understood, it is probable that traumatic anal sex may carry an above average risk of HCV transmission
    • generally patients can be advised that they are low risk of sexual transmission of HCV but they should consider using condoms. When HCV positive patients are coinfected with HIV they are more likely to transmit HCV to their sexual partners and they should be advised always to use condoms and practice safer sex


  1. RCGP (2007).Guidance for the prevention, testing, treatment and management of hepatitis C in primary care.