Transmission of human immunodeficiency virus to sexual partners of hemophiliacs.
To examine the variables associated with heterosexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), we studied 32 couples in our hemophilia center who had steady sexual relationships for periods more than 1 year. Of the 32 sexual partners of the hemophiliacs, five (15.6%) were HIV seropositive. All five hemophiliacs with HIV transmission to their sexual partners had measurable immunologic deficiencies, as shown by their lower median T-helper (CD-4+) lymphocyte count of 172 cells/mm3. The hemophiliacs without transmission had a slightly higher median CD-4+ count of 297 cells/mm3 (P = .26). To determine if factors other than the degree of immunologic deficiency in the hemophiliac might contribute to HIV transmission, 18 of the 32 couples were studied more intensively by confidential, coded questionnaires. Regular condom use was reported by nine couples (50%). Two of nine women (22%) without condom usage acquired HIV. One of nine women (11%) using condoms was seropositive; she also reported eight needlestick injuries while assisting her spouse with clotting factor treatments. Intravenous drug abuse was reported in two of the five couples with HIV transmission. Thus, hemophiliacs are at risk for transmitting HIV parenterally as well as venereally. Despite various risk behaviours associated with HIV transmission, the prevalence of infection in our cohort of hemophiliacs' sexual partners is low and within the range (6.8-22%) reported by others. This study underscores the need for comprehensive education and counseling in what previously appeared to be a homogeneous clinic population at risk for transmitting HIV to others.
Smiley, ML; White, GC; Becherer, P; Macik, G; Matthews, TJ; Weinhold, KJ; McMillan, C; Bolognesi, D
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