Heterosexual Transmission of HIV in Haiti
A prospective study of 475 individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and their non-infected regular sex partners indicated that discordant heterosexual couples comprise a major source of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) spread in Haiti. Participants were recruited from the National Institute for Laboratory Research in Port-au-Prince. Of the 2687 HIV-positive individuals who returned to the Institute during 1988-92 to obtain their HIV test result, 1201 brought in a regular sexual partner for testing; 583 (49%) of these partners were HIV-negative. Discordant couples received free condoms and counseling and were evaluated at 3-month intervals. Sexual activity was discontinued by 298 (63%) of couples within 6 months of study entry, largely because of advanced AIDS. Overall, 20 sex partners seroconverted after a median follow-up of 27 months. Seroconversion was associated with non-use of condoms (relative risk, 6.8/100 person-years), the presence of genital ulcer disease in the initially HIV-negative partner (6.55), and syphilis in the HIV-infected index patient (2.9). Counseling increased condom use from none at study entry to 24%. The rate of seroconversion in those who always used condoms was only 1/100 person-years.