Could the Zika Virus be Considered an STD?
The Centers for Disease Control is considering whether to add a new disease to the list of known sexually transmitted diseases: The Zika Virus. The symptoms of Zika include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. It is known that it can be spread through specific instances of intercourse, and that the virus lives in the semen longer than it does in the blood. Here is more about Zika.
What Remains Unknown
While the CDC and other health professionals know that Zika can be transferred from men to women during sexual intercourse, it is not known how long the virus lives in semen. Currently, it is not known if women can spread the disease to their sexual partners. It is also unknown whether Zika can be spread through oral sex, or if it can be spread from vaginal fluids or saliva.
Zika and the Fetus
Zika virus can be spread from man to woman during sex, and it can be spread to a woman’s fetus if she is pregnant. Zika can cause microcephaly and other brain defects in the unborn child. It is important that couples protect themselves every time they have sex if the male partner lives in or traveled to any area where Zika is present.
If a male is concerned about Zika, they should communicate the following information to their healthcare provider:
- Travel history
- Length of travel
- Instance of mosquito bites
- Number of occurrences of unprotected sex
Partners Who Are Not Pregnant
In cases where the female partner is not pregnant and the male partner has lived in or traveled to an area where Zika is present, the following guidelines should be followed.
- If symptoms are or were present, condoms should be used during intercourse for at least 6 months after the symptoms began.
- If no symptoms are present, condoms should be used for at least 8 weeks after travel has ended.
- If the male partner lives in an area where Zika is present, condoms should be used until Zika is no longer in the area.
If you have any questions about Zika virus or your risks, you should speak to your healthcare provider. Arming yourself with as much information as possible is one of the only ways to begin protecting yourself against this virus.
If you believe that you have contracted an STD in Austin, please contact us now. We will provide you with a free case evaluation and advise you of your current options under Texas law. Call today and let us assist you.