Heterosexual transmission of GB virus C/hepatitis G virus infection to non-intravenous drug-using female prostitutes in Fukuoka, Japan

Dig Dis Sci. 1999 Oct;44(10):1937-43. doi: 10.1023/a:1026664428194.


To determine if GB virus C (GBV-C) or hepatitis G (HGV) infection can be transmitted by heterosexual intercourse, we tested serum samples from 234 non-drug-injecting female prostitutes for GBV-C/HGV. We used reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction to test for GBV-C/HGV RNA and ELISA for GBV-C/HGV-E2 antibody. The prevalence of total GBV-C/HGV marker (GBV-C/HGV RNA and/or GBV-C/HGV-E2 antibody) was 58/234 (24.8%) in the prostitutes, and 7/71 (8.9%) in matched controls. The GBV-C/HGV RNA and GBV-C/HGV-E2 antibody concurrence rate was 12.5% for the prostitutes, but was nil in matched controls. Total GBV-C/HGV marker was significantly higher in the prostitutes than in matched controls. Additionally, total GBV-C/HGV marker was associated with the number of years engaged in prostitution after adjusting for age. We found hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infections in prostitutes to be associated with syphilis infection, but GBV-C/HGV infection was not. Thus, it seems likely that GBV-C/HGV can be transmitted by heterosexual intercourse, even in the absence of syphilis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Flaviviridae* / isolation & purification
  • Hepatitis B / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / transmission*
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / virology
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Sex Work*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous
  • Syphilis / epidemiology
  • Time Factors


  • RNA, Viral