MELVIN L. BUTLER, M.D.; LAWRENCE F. JOHNSON, M.D.; RONALD L. VAN HEERTUM, M.D.
To the editor: The possibility of sexual transmission of type B hepatitis has been raised by several recent articles (1-3). In one of these studies the hepatitis B antigen (HB Ag) was found in 11 of 282 male homosexuals but in only 2 of 533 female and 1 of 520 male heterosexual patients. Since viral hepatitis is a multisystem disease, and the antigen has been reported in blood, urine, and saliva, it seems possible that seminal fluid might also carry the infectious agent.
We are currently testing semen samples from HB Ag-positive patients for the antigen, by radioimmunoassay. To date,
BUTLER ML, JOHNSON LF, VAN HEERTUM RL. Semen and Hepatitis B Antigen. Ann Intern Med. ;80:424. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-80-3-424
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1974;80(3):424.
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