Infectious disease threat has experts advising safe sex

Infectious disease threat has experts advising safe sex

[Ed. – Why does this sound familiar?]

When the only way to get an often fatal disease is through contact with body fluids, it makes good sense to be very careful about sexual partners and practices. But since Ebola victims can infect others only when they are showing symptoms — high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and aches — physical intimacy probably isn’t a common way of transmitting the disease.

However, the Ebola virus can survive in semen for months after a man recovers from the infection, posing an ongoing threat to sexual partners long after he is well. At a time when a man’s bloodstream is swimming with antibodies, and he is immune to the disease, he still may be able to infect others.

As a result, Ebola survivors in West Africa and elsewhere are being advised to remain celibate or use condoms for three months after their release from treatment centers. In Lofa County, Liberia, where the epidemic began six months ago, UNICEF workers doing outreach work were told the story of one local man who recovered and infected his girlfriend through sex, according to a UNICEF official. The woman later died. (We couldn’t independently verify that account).

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