CDC confirms gay sex can spread the Zika virus

The symptoms of Zika virus.

The symptoms of Zika virus. Courtesy of medicalnewstoday.com

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that gay men who have unprotected anal sex can contract the Zika virus from an infected partner. The government agency acknowledged that a February report of a case of sexual transmission in Dallas, Texas involved two gay men.

One of the men became infected with the virus after traveling to Venezuela. After returning home, he started showing symptoms. A week later, his partner also became ill.

This was the second reported case of sexual transmission of the virus; the first case involved a heterosexual couple. In both cases, authorities are clear: the virus can be spread via unprotected sex.

“The take-home message is you have to consider any kind of intimate contact between an infected person with Zika and a non-infected person as a potential risk situation, regardless of gender,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told the STAT News medical website.

Osterholm noted that it’s still unclear if the virus can be spread via oral sex. The gay men had unprotected anal sex while the heterosexual couple had unprotected vaginal sex without ejaculation and oral sex with ejaculation.

Six other cases of sexual transmission have been documented in the United States since the gay men tested positive for the Zika virus. The sexual orientation of the couples are unknown. Five other countries have also reported cases of sexual transmission.

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