Sexual intercourse

Revive Her Drive

Improving Your Sex Life

Get Instant Access

Unprotected sexual intercourse is the most important transmission route of HIV infection worldwide. Although receptive anal sex is estimated to produce the highest risk of infection, infection after a single insertive contact has also been described. The presence of other sexually transmitted diseases markedly increases the risk of becoming infected with HIV.

The lower the viral load, the less infectious the patient. A prospective study of 415 HIV-discordant couples in Uganda showed that of 90 new infections occurring over a period of up to 30 months, none was from an infected partner with a viral load below 1,500 copies/ml. The risk of infection increased with every log of viral load by a factor of 2.45 (Quinn 2000). It should be noted that the levels of viral load in blood and other body fluids do not always correlate with one another. Thus, individual risk remains difficult to estimate. In addition, HIV-infected patients are not protected from superinfection with new viral strains.

The higher the viral load, the more infectious the patient. This is especially true for patients during acute HIV infection. During acute HIV-1 infection, the virus replicates extensively in the absence of any detectable adaptive immune response, reaching levels of over 100 million copies of HIV-1 RNA/ml (see Chapter "Acute HIV-1 infection").

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment