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In Nancy Padian's 10 year study, none of the over 100 HIV- monogamous partners of HIV+ subjects seroconverted to HIV+ during the study. They were counseled to use condoms, but it is believed that they often did not.

[Ref: Padian NS, Shiboski SC, Glass SO, Vittinghoff E. 1997. Heterosexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Northern California: results from a ten-year study. Am J Epidemiol 146, 350-357]

Aids Truth says the study was misinterpreted by denialists. It says that the rate for male to female transmission was 0.01 to 0.32 % in the developed world. That is once per 300 to 1000 sexual contacts. It's vastly too low to account for the "spread by infection" presumed to have occurred before it was noticed.

  • You've referenced a study, and a debunking of denialists, but you haven't referenced any of the denialists. Who is making the claim that you are doubtful about? – Oddthinking Sep 19 '11 at 1:37
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    0.01% means 1 in 10 000. Which number is meant? – user unknown Sep 19 '11 at 2:56
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    Do you want an answer to the question, or an addressing of the paper itself - you seem split. – Fomite Sep 19 '11 at 3:38
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    @Konrad: It's widely accepted that male-to-male transmission percentages are far higher, even in monogamous relations. – MSalters Sep 20 '11 at 12:03
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    @MSalters Ah, I had forgotten that the transmission risks differed drastically depending on the kind of sex. – Konrad Rudolph Sep 20 '11 at 12:11
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Yes HIV is a sexually transmitted infection. The page you mentioned [*] gives plenty of proof for that.

Let's just have a brief look to the population of the study:

"Specifically, discordant couples were strongly counseled to use condoms and practice safe sex (1,12). That we witnessed no HIV transmissions after the intervention documents the success of the interventions in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV."

This study records monogame couples, who knew that they carried a disease which their partners did not carry. This also implies that they know about the danger of the disease and methods to circumvent infections. At least for me it does not come to a surprise that no infections happened and that precautions were taken. Your question states:

They were counseled to use condoms, but it is believed that they often did not.

Even if some of they did not do so, the group is still not representative at all for a population of people which usually don't know that they have HIV (or don't know that their partner has HIV).

Apart from that, there is a lot of ongoing research on what is called 'superinfection': infection with a different HIV type once you carry HIV, and at least some studies indicate that chances for infections become lower: see eg: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15238769

[*] http://www.aidstruth.org/denialism/misuse/padian

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