The first case of Zika virus transmitted sexually from a female to male has been reported. The New York City woman became infected while travelling abroad and infected her boyfriend during sex upon her return.
Prior to this case, Zika virus was believed to be sexually transmitted only from males to females, not the other way around.
The woman developed Zika infection symptoms while on her flight back home from her trip. A week after having an unprotected vaginal sex with her, her boyfriend began experiencing Zika symptoms, too.
Both individuals have recovered from the Zika infection.
Zika virus poses a particular threat to women who are pregnant or looking to conceive. Luckily, the infected woman was not pregnant.
Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, is not surprised by this case. He said, “Anytime you see male-to-female transmission, there’s always the risk of female-to-male transmission — we found that with HIV.” Dr. Siegel also suggests that this is most likely not the first case, and there are probably other cases of female-to-male transmission that have gone unreported.
There are also cases of Zika virus sexual transmission through oral sex. Last month, a 27-year-old Parisian woman reported experiencing Zika virus symptoms after having vaginal sex without ejaculation and oral sex with ejaculation with a 46-year-old man who developed Zika symptoms just before leaving Brazil for Paris.
Along with protecting yourself from mosquito bites, you can lower your risk of contracting the virus by avoiding sexual contact with a person who has visited a Zika-ridden country or, in case you have travelled abroad, by avoiding sexual contact upon your return. Practice safe sex to further reduce your risk.
As Zika virus persists and with the summer Olympic Games right around the corner, many athletes continue to back out in fear of Zika.
Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article: Zika virus in Latin America will end in 3 years.