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Risky Roughness

Risky Roughness

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It's one of the nagging, unanswered questions for HIVers coinfected with hepatitis C: Can the hepatitis virus be passed to others through sex? While most HCV infections are caused by contact with infected blood, a new Dutch study suggests that sexual transmissions are also not only possible but are likely. A study of 532 HIV-negative and 157 HIV-positive gay men showed a whopping 17.8% of the HIVers were coinfected -- and 32% of those had been recently infected with HCV. Since fewer than 20% of the HIV-HCV coinfected men reported having ever used injection drugs, the researchers concluded sexual transmission was the likely route of infection for most. Further analysis of the data linked several 'rough' sexual practices -- such as 'fisting' -- to high HCV infection risk. Shared sex toys and group sex also put HIVers at high HCV risk.

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