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Indian J Dermatol. 2019 Sep-Oct;64(5):377-382. doi: 10.4103/ijd.IJD_367_18.

A Cross-sectional Study to Analyze the Social, Sexual, and Reproductive Challenges among Serodiscordant Couples.

Author information

Department of Dermatology, Base Hospital, New Delhi, India.
Department of Dermatology, MLN Medical College, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Department of Dermatology, Military Hospital, Guwahati, Assam, India.



The term "serodiscordant couples" refers to an intimate partnership in which one partner is human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive and the other HIV negative. They form a special population which are constantly at risk of acquiring infection, require safer sexual and reproductive options, and are in constant psychological and emotional distress.


To describe the social, sexual, and reproductive issues and their impact on serodiscordant couples.

Materials and Methods:

A cross-sectional study was conducted on HIV-serodiscordant couples, admitted or attending our outpatient department, where the couples had not separated. A detailed interview of the partners on social, sexual, and reproductive issues was conducted and the data were endorsed in the pro forma.


Sixty-four serodiscordant couples were included in the study. Sixty-two (96.8%) males were seropositive compared to 2 (3.1%) females. Sixty-one (95.3%) patients were married and 3 (4.6%) were unmarried. Thirty-six (56.2%) patients were between the age group of 21 and 35 years, 21 (32.8%) between 36 and 55 years, and 7 (10.9%) between 56 and 70 years. Sixty-two (96.8%) patients had a heterosexual orientation compared to 2 (3.1%) patients who were homosexual. Twenty-one (32.8%) patients had a history of sexual encounter outside the relation while 27 (42.1%) were not aware of the source of infection. Fifty-one (79.6%) patients were on antiretroviral therapy (ART) compared to 13 (20.3%) patients who were not on ART. Thirty-one (48.4%) patients admitted to have a constant strain in relation while 16 (25%) were practicing safe sex. Thirty-nine (60.9%) patients had fear of disease transmission while 26 (40.6%) had fear of pregnancy. Forty-nine (76.5%) patients had children at the time of detection while 15 (23.4%) had no issue. Forty-one (64%) patients expressed desire to have children as compared to 23 (35.9%).


The unique requirements of serodiscordant couples in terms of providing them safer sexual and reproductive options to prevent the transmission of HIV to the seronegative partner or the child during pregnancy need to be addressed for better patient management.


Antiretroviral therapy; condom; reproductive health; serodiscordant

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