Risk of HIV Transmission From Heterosexual Intercourse Could Be Underestimated, Study Finds
August 6, 2008
The standard method for assessing risk of HIV transmission through heterosexual intercourse could be flawed, according to a study published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases and presented at the XVII International AIDS Conference on Tuesday, AFP/iAfrica.com reports.
The study said HIV risks could be amplified by other factors, such as men who are not circumcised, partners who have genital ulcers or if a partner is at the early or late stage of HIV, when viral loads are higher. In addition, researchers do not know the risks of HIV transmission for certain sexual behaviors, including oral sex.
According to the researchers, "The use of a single, 'one-size-fits-all' value for the heterosexual infectivity of HIV-1 obscures important differences associated with transmission co-factors." They added that the measurement of one infection per 1,000 acts of intercourse "seems to represent a lower bound. As such, this value substantially underestimates the infectivity of HIV-1 in many heterosexual contexts" (AFP/iAfrica.com, 8/5).
The study is available online.
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.