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September 12, 1986

Sex and the Singles' Whirl: The Quantum Dynamics of Hepatitis B

JAMA. 1986;256(10):1344. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380100118035

While there are more than two dozen bacterial, viral, chlamydial, mycoplasmal, parasitic, and protozoan diseases spread by sexual contact, it was only 15 years ago that hepatitis B was first suggested as a sexually transmitted disease.1

Soon thereafter, the argument for its venereal mode of transmission was strengthened by the finding that hepatitis B antigen was present in the semen of men with clinical hepatitis (and men who were asymptomatic carriers) and by the ability to transmit the disease in animals by the intravaginal instillation of infected semen.2,3

Early epidemiologic investigations showed that the number of sexual partners a person had was important in determining the risk of developing hepatitis B. In fact, it was demonstrated that single individuals were more at risk than married persons and that promiscuity was responsible in large part for the clinically apparent and inapparent infections.4

The word "promiscuity" is of more