Hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission has decreased with the adoption of universal blood donor screening and social policies to reduce the risk of infection in intravenous drug users, but remains a worldwide health problem. The objective of this study was to evaluate the phylogenetic relationships among sequences from different HCV genomic regions from sexual partners of infected patients. Nine couples with a stable relationship and without other risk factors for HCV infection and 42 control patients were selected, and the NS3 and NS5B regions were analysed. Phylogenetic analysis showed that viruses from five of the couples had a common origin, clustering in the same monophyletic group, with bootstrap values greater than 70. For the other couples, monophyletic groups were observed, but without bootstrap support. Thus, using two different viral genome regions, a common source of infection was observed in both members of five couples. These data strongly support HCV transmission within couples.


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