To study the transmission rate of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the female sexual partners of antibody-positive hemophilic males, 106 partners from three hemophilia centers located in Europe, America, and Australia were tested for HCV seropositivity using a first-generation enzyme- linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA-1) and, subsequently, a second- generation ELISA (ELISA-2) and a supplemental recombinant immunoblot assay. Additionally, the cohort was tested for the presence of antibody to the human immunodeficiency virus type-1 and hepatitis B virus markers. No female partner was HCV antibody-positive using the ELISA-1 test, whereas five were seropositive by the ELISA-2 test. Three of these five female partners were seropositive on the supplemental test, the remaining two having indeterminate results, for an overall prevalence of 2.7%. Thus, even with the use of sensitive testing, the prevalence of HCV infection remains low in this cohort, showing that the efficiency of heterosexual transmission of HCV is poor.

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