A disturbing article in Scientific American today shows how Ebola could morph into a sexually transmitted virus if hospitals aren't careful about warning released patients that their genitals may still be viral.
Hospitals, it seems, release patients when they are deemed healthy and their blood is free of Ebola. But semen and vaginal fluids can harbor the virus for as long as 90 days, according to a study cited in the article. It's usually a small amount of the virus, and another study showed that the partners of people who still had Ebola in their semen and had unprotected sex still didn't contract the virus.
Still, the CDC warns against having sex post-ebola. "Abstinence from sex (including oral sex) is recommended for at least 3 months," reads the website. "If abstinence is not possible, condoms may help prevent the spread of disease." Anyone who's read The Hot Zone knows that the Ebola virus operates similarly to HIV, which makes this revelation even more freaky.
Thankfully Doctors Without Borders has been giving released patients an armful of condoms when they leave the hospital, American patients have been warned too, and so far no one has contracted the virus sexually. Read more about Ebola and sex over at Scientific American.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.