Updated recommendations on preventing sexual transmission of Zika

24 Nov 2016

The Department of Health has updated its advice on preventing sexual transmission of the Zika virus. The main change is the period of abstinence, pregnancy deferral, or safe sex for asymptomatic men, which increases from 8 weeks to 6 months.

The revised version of the advice and various fact sheets emphasise the availability of testing for couples/people who cannot wait the recommended time periods, noting the concerns about the consequences of delaying pregnancy in some instances.

These revised recommendations are based on the evidence that:

  • The longest reported period between symptom onset and sexual transmission is 32-41 days (based on an incubation period of 3-12 days).
  • Zika virus RNA has also been found in the semen of five men more than 90 days after onset, and in one case up to 188 days after onset of infection.
  • Viral RNA has been detected in the genital tract of one woman on day 11, and another up to day 13, and was cleared by day 17 in both women.

For more information and fact sheets visit the Department of Health’s website