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J Infect Dis. 1996 Dec;174(6):1320-3.

Detection of the hepatitis G virus genome among injecting drug users, homosexual and bisexual men, and blood donors.

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Institute of Tropical Medicine, Department of Medical Statistics and Clinical Epidemiology, Free University, Berlin, Germany.


The recently identified hepatitis G virus (HGV) is parenterally transmitted; the impact of sexual transmission is unknown. Moreover, it is unclear what proportion of HGV-infected persons may develop persistent viremia. Sera from injecting drug users (IDUs), non-drug-injecting homosexual and bisexual men with high levels of sexual risk behavior, and blood donors were tested for HGV RNA and hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and for antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus, and HCV. HGV RNA was detected in 33% of IDUs (n = 130), 11% of homosexual and bisexual men (n = 101), and 2% of blood donors (n = 90). HGV RNA seroprevalence significantly decreased with increasing time since first drug injection, whereas the seroprevalences of both HCV RNA and anti-HCV antibody increased. Thus, a high proportion of HGV-infected persons may clear the virus and develop protective antibodies. The relatively high HGV RNA prevalence among non-drug-injecting homosexual and bisexual men indicates that sexual contact may be another important route of HGV transmission.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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