Zika Sex Guidelines Expanded

Six months protection after visiting Zika hot zones
beach couple
Africa (Zika News)

The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) expanded their sex recommendations for men who have visited areas in which the Zika virus is circulating.

According to the CDC, men should wait six months before having unprotected sex, even if they have not had any Zika related symptoms.

Previously, the CDC had recommended that men refrain for six months if they had experienced symptoms of Zika infection, but only eight weeks if they had not.

The new guidelines also suggest that couples planning a pregnancy in the near future consider avoiding travel to areas where Zika is being transmitted. In addition, they should use condoms or abstain from sex for at least six months after travel before trying to conceive.

CDC research indicates the Zika virus lingers in semen, the reproductive fluid that contains sperm. Moreover, French researchers reported that the virus can penetrate individual spermatozoa. This study found the virus in the spermatozoa of a 32-year-old man who had had Zika symptoms.

Although it is unknown whether the Zika virus inside the man’s sperm is infectious, the French researchers said, the discovery suggests that fertility centers will need to carefully screen donations.

Not having sex eliminates the risk of getting Zika from sex. Additionally, condoms can reduce the chance of getting Zika from sex. To be effective, condoms should be used from start to finish, every time during vaginal, anal, and oral sex.

The CDC says testing blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or urine is not recommended to determine how likely a person is to pass Zika virus through sex. Because the Zika virus can remain in semen longer than blood, someone might have a negative blood test, but a positive semen test. The results of the semen and vaginal fluid tests are difficult to interpret.