Female-to-female sexual transmission of HIV

A research brief

Key points

  • The risk of female-to-female sexual transmission is extremely rare, with only a handful of reported cases.
  • HIV-positive women who identify as lesbian may have acquired HIV through injecting drug use or sex with men.
  • Transmission is possible through sharing of sex toys and exposure to blood during sex.

When considering the issue of female-to-female intimate transmission it is important to draw a differentiation between the risk of transmittance by this route and diagnoses of HIV infection in women who identify as lesbian. There have been only six reported cases of woman-to-woman sexual infection, and these reports need to be viewed with the same caution as any early case reports of transmission through oral sex ( cunnilingus ) .
In the early on years of the epidemic, investigations of the generator of infection in US women failed to identify any cases of female-to-female transmission. For example, a 1992 follow-up of all 144 women identified as HIV-positive through the blood contribution services in the US interviewed 106 women, and identified only three who had had sex with women. All of these women had other gamble factors : either injecting drug use or vaginal intercourse with men ( Chu ) .
An italian study of 18 HIV-discordant lesbian couples who had been monogamous partners for at least three months anterior to recruitment and who were followed for six months found no seroconversions occurred during this time period. Three-quarters of the couples reported sharing sex toys and virtually all couples reported oral arouse ( Raiteri ).

In 2003 a case report of female-to-female sexual HIV transmission was published. Doctors suggest the woman may have been infected through sharing arouse toys after drug-resistance tests found striking similarities between the genotypes of the charwoman and her female HIV-positive partner ( Kwakwa ) .
The shell concerns a 20-year-old woman who presented with HIV infection having had a negative HIV test result six months early. The womanhood had been in a monogamous lesbian kinship for the past two years, and denied having had any other sexual partners, male or female. She had never injected drugs or received blood products, and had no tattoo or soundbox piercings. The couple ’ south sexual practices included the share of sex toys, and oral sex. These activities did not occur during menstruation, but sex toys had occasionally been used vigorously enough to draw blood .
Her bisexual spouse was known to be HIV positive, and is believed to be the source of infection because of similarities observed when the two women undergo genotypical drug-resistance tests. The 20-year-old woman was infected with multidrug-resistant HIV .
The investigators noted that this is the “ first reported case of female-to-female sexual transmittance of HIV supported by identification of exchangeable HIV genotypes in the source patient and the recipient ” .
In 2014, a further case report card was published, on this juncture supported by phylogenetic analysis, which showed that the familial sequences of the viruses infecting the two women were highly related ( Chan ) .



Refers to the mouth, for example a music taken by talk.


A drug-resistant HIV breed is one which is less susceptible to the effects of one or more anti-HIV drugs because of an accumulation of HIV mutations in its genotype. resistor can be the result of a poor people adhesiveness to treatment or of transmission of an already immune virus .

oral sex

Kissing, licking or sucking another person ‘s genitals, i.e. fellatio, cunnilingus, a blow job, giving head .

risk factor

An aspect of personal demeanor or life style, an environmental exposure, or a personal characteristic that is thought to be associated with an infection or a medical condition .

case report

Describes the aesculapian history of a one patient. The reputation concerns a 46-year-old woman who appears to have acquired HIV during a six-month monogamous HIV serodiscordant intimate relationship with a 43-year-old woman. She had had a negative antibody test a few weeks before seroconversion illness and diagnosis.

Her female partner had been previously diagnosed with HIV but had dropped out of aesculapian manage and was not receiving antiretroviral therapy. The newly diagnosed womanhood had no other late risk factors for HIV, such as heterosexual intercourse, injecting drug use, or more unusual modes of HIV transmission such as tattoo, acupuncture, transfusion or transplant .
The match reported routinely having unprotected oral and vaginal touch and using insertive sexual activity toys that were shared between them. They described their sexual contact as at times roughly to the point of inducing bleed and reach with menstrual lineage .
The final two case reports both involve sharing of sex toys and exposure to lineage during sex .

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