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Antiviral Res. 2010 Jan;85(1):276-85. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2009.10.012. Epub 2009 Oct 27.

Sexual transmission of HIV-1.

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Department of HIV, Faculty of Medicine, Harrison Unit, Lambeth Wing, Guys and St Thomas' NHS Trust/Kings College London, Westminster bridge road, London, UK.


HIV-1 transmission occurs in a limited number of ways all of which are preventable. Overall, the risk of HIV-1 transmission following a single sexual exposure is low especially in comparison with other sexually transmitted infections (STIs); with estimates of the average probability of male to female HIV-1 transmission only 0.0005-0.0026 per coital act. The risk of acquiring HIV-1 from a single contact varies enormously and is dependant upon the infectiousness of the HIV-1 positive individual and the susceptibility to HIV-1 of their sexual partner. An understanding of the determinants of HIV-1 transmission is important not only to assess the infection risk to an individual when exposed to the virus (e.g. to determine the provision of post exposure prophylaxis), but also to make accurate predictions on the potential spread of HIV-1 infection in a population and to direct appropriate targeted prevention strategies. In this review article we summarise the current literature on the major worldwide source of HIV-1 acquisition, sexual transmission. This article forms part of a special issue of Antiviral Research marking the 25th anniversary of antiretroviral drug discovery and development, Vol 85, issue 1, 2010.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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