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18 March 2011

Lesbians can transmit HIV

The first scientifically confirmed case where the HIV was transmitted from one woman to another has been documented in a journal on infectious diseases.

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The first scientifically confirmed case where the HI virus was transmitted from one woman to another has been documented in a journal on infectious diseases that will be published soon.

It is believed that the virus was transmitted through sex toys.

Vigorous use
Doctors quoted by the internet journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases, tell of a 20-year old woman from Philadelphia, America, that recently tested positive for HIV - six months after she had a negative test result.

For the past two years she has been in a relationship with a bisexual and HIV positive woman. During this time, the woman had no other sexual partners and never injected drugs or had blood transfusions.

The couple's sexual activities, however, included oral sex and sex toys. The sex toys were apparently used so vigorously on one occasion that skin was broken.

Tests have confirmed that the woman's HIV positive partner did infect her with the disease because the genetic composition of the virus was similar in both women.

Although previous cases of woman-to-woman transmission of the virus have been documented, it was the first time that the genotypes of the virus were similar in both women.

Condoms used for safety
In Cape Town, Triangle Project recently started to hand out safe sex packages, which included "finger condoms", to lesbians.

Dr Estelle Lawrence, who runs a clinic for women at the Triangle Project, said on Sunday it was very difficult for women to infect one another with the disease, but it was possible.

"It is only possible when women have cuts to their skin or genitals. Sometimes women have small cuts or they tear the skin along their nails without even being aware of it.

"We therefore recommend that women wear surgical gloves or finger condoms.

"During oral sex, it is advisable that women place cut condoms or other forms of plastic over the vagina to prevent direct contact between the mouth and the skin."

Lawrence said doctors fear that cases like the one in America might increase if women don't start practising safe sex.

"Women in a gay relationship can also be infected with other sexually transmitted diseases such as Hepatitis B," she said. – (Willemien Brümmer, Die Burger)

 
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