24 Nov 2016

Zika virus: advice on the prevention of sexual transmission

Public Health England has revised guidance for men who have travelled in or returned from an area of high or moderate Zika virus risk Zika virus: advice on the prevention of sexual transmission

To reduce the risk of conception and being exposed to Zika virus (ZIKV) through sexual transmission, effective contraceptive and condoms (or other barrier methods) should be consistently used whilst travelling in an area with high or moderate ZIKV risk  [1, 2].

Public Health England (PHE) continues to review its guidance relating to ZIKV virus. As of 23 November 2016, in line with recent changes from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control [3] and other public health organisations, PHE has revised the guidance for male travellers and recommends that men should:

  •  Use effective contraceptive and condoms or other barrier methods for six months after symptom onset

 or

  • Use effective contraceptive and condoms or other barrier methods for six months after the last potential ZIKV exposure (regardless of symptoms) [2].

The advice for women (pregnant or not) and their sexual partners and for symptomatic men, is unchanged.

Detailed advice for travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy and for women of child-bearing age (and their partners) on Zika virus: preventing infection by sexual transmission is available from PHE.  

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