Hepatitis C Transmission Routes
Hepatitis C has become overlooked over the last few years as media attention has tended to concentrate on HIV, however it is important to remember that it is actually easier to contract Hep C than HIV. It also needs to be remembered that Hep C also has a high mortality rate and should be seen as incurable.
There are symptoms to Hep C, flu type symptoms which go followed a few weeks later by their return, possibly with upper stomach area type pain and yellowing of the whites of the eyes, nail beds, skin etc. There can also be a darkening of urine and a paleness to bowel movements so they become a putty type colour. Muscle cramps are also common. This is because Hep C is a virus that attacks the liver and it is the inability of the liver to function whilst infected that causes these symptoms. Hep C can result in liver failure, cirrhosis or an increased risk of liver cancer, all of which are potentially fatal.
Hep C is not a mild, easily treated illness. It is long term, painful, life altering and can be fatal and should be taken as one of the most serious sexually transmitted infections around. The fact it can also be contracted through non sexual activity play makes it a higher risk to people within the BDSM lifestyle and one we all should be aware of.
Sexually based activities
Anal sex : always use a condom especially designed for anal sex with a water based lubricant.
Any sexual penetration : use a condom again with a water based lube.
Oral sex : if there are any cuts or sores present in the mouth or around it or if any dental work especially extractions has been done during the previous 72 hours dental dams or a piece of latex or even Clingfilm can be used as protection at such times.
Corporal punishment : following flogging whipping etc that has resulted in broken skin avoid any masturbation or sexual activities or genital contact with these areas.
Any contact between saliva and an open wound
Non sexual based activities
Any piercing branding or knife play with unsterilised equipment : as few people have the right equipment to successfully ensure that needles etc are properly sterilised it is recommended that disposable scalpels, needles etc are used at all times.
Tattooing \ decorative body piercing : ensure that needles are brand-new opened and inserted in front of you. Following the piercing / tattooing ensure that needles are snapped and disposed of in front of you.
Shared equipment : the Hepatitis C virus lives in the air for far longer than The HIV virus so even more caution is needed to ensure infection does not occur. Never use play equipment that has or could possibly have been used by others.
Blood feeding : or Vamp activity can also be a source of contamination as the virus is present in saliva in far higher quantities than HIV. A donor or feeder should never be used if there is even a chance they are carrying the Hep C virus as there is no real protection against contamination in those circumstances.
Watersports and Scat Play : are also high risk as Hep C is present in both urine and faeces. These should not be ingested or allowed near any wounds or skin abrasions i.e. grazes, piercings, cuts, branding etc.
Never use oil based lube with condoms, it rots the latex making it more likely to split.
Even if both partners are HIV positive precautions still need to be taken as there are different strains and cross contamination can occur lessening the chances of a good reaction to treatment and a shorter life span.
To sterilise equipment at home : shop bought sterilising solutions are easily mishandled. Boiling is best but equipment must be boiled at a rolling boil for at least 20 and preferably 40 minutes.
As with the HIV virus the only real way to be sure is to be tested but unlike HIV because there are symptoms the test is more hospital-based etc and so confidentiality etc can become an issue. To be infected with Hep C can and will affect areas of your life such as life insurance, mortgages etc. Some areas of employment would also be closed to you, for example, the food industry .
©2002 jaz aka red_orion