New Zika Guidelines Will Change How Lots Of Americans Have Sex

Pregnant couples in which a male partner may have been exposed to the mosquito-borne Zika virus should use condoms during vaginal, anal and oral sex or be abstinent in order to prevent sexual transmission of the disease, according to new federal guidelines.

That’s because sexually transmitting Zika virus to a pregnant partner may pose a threat to the fetus’ development in the womb, resulting in birth defects.

If pregnant women or their partners have traveled to an area with active Zika transmission, the guidelines say, they should discuss this potential exposure with an OB/GYN in order to determine if extra testing and evaluation is needed during the pregnancy.

So far the only bodily fluid associated with sex in which Zika has been found is sperm. And it’s currently unknown how long a person who has had Zika virus will be able to transmit the disease sexually, so researchers have yet to be determined how long men need to use condoms during sex to avoid passing the disease to someone else.

These new guidelines were released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, two days after the agency confirmed that the first-ever local transmission of Zika virus in the U.S. happened through sexual contact. An unnamed patient in Dallas got the virus after sleeping with a partner who had recently traveled from Venezuela.

The Dallas case appears to confirm the likelihood of two initial reports of possible sexual transmission of Zika virus. The first case study, published in 2011, suggests that a man who contracted the disease while working in Senegal went on to sexually transmit it to his wife when he returned to his home in Colorado. The second case study reported that a Tahitian man showed signs of —> Read More