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Int J STD AIDS. 2007 Aug;18(8):509-13.

Heterosexual HIV transmission dynamics: implications for prevention and control.

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley, CA, USA.


Understanding the epidemiologic definition of epidemic versus non-epidemic spread of an infectious disease agent and the different patterns of heterosexual HIV transmission are needed to fully understand the low potential for heterosexual HIV epidemics in most heterosexual populations. Epidemic sexual HIV transmission can occur only in populations where there are large numbers of persons who have unprotected sex with multiple and concurrent sex partners. How high HIV prevalence may reach in these populations depends on the size and overlap of sex networks, and the prevalence of facilitating and protective factors that can greatly increase or limit the amount of infected blood and sexual fluids exchanged during intercourse. The wide difference in potentials for heterosexual HIV epidemics that exists within and between countries must be recognized, accepted and monitored in order to design and focus prevention strategies where they are most needed and most effective.

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