Rare case of female-to-female HIV infection reported in US

Centre of Disease Control said 46-year-old was likely to have contracted the disease through unprotected sex with her female partner

An extremely rare case of female-to-female HIV infection has been reported by the Centre of Disease Control in the US.

Testing of a 46-year-old newly diagnosed woman in 2012 found the virus she had contracted to be “virtually identical” to that of her 43-year-old female partner, who was diagnosed with HIV in 2008.

The woman who contracted the disease had not had sexual intercourse with a man for ten years. She had carried out no other action which can be associated with HIV contraction such as tattooing, acupuncture, transfusions or injecting drugs.

The Texan had been in a sexual relationship with three different woman in the last five years and had been in a relationship with the infected woman for six months. In March 2012, a month before the diagnosis, the woman, had tested negative for HIV while selling her blood.

Following the diagnosis, the women reported having regular unprotected oral and vaginal sex and sharing sex toys, the CDC report said.

It added that the pair described their sexual contact as sometimes “rough to the point of inducing bleeding in either woman,” and that they had unprotected sex during menstruation.

“Transmission of HIV between women who have sex with women (WSW) has been reported rarely and is difficult to ascertain,” the report explained.

“The potential for HIV transmission by female-to-female sexual contact includes unprotected exposure to vaginal or other body fluids and to blood from menstruation, or to exposure to blood from trauma during rough sex.”

The CDU said although there has been a small number of previous reports of woman-to-woman HIV infection, this is the first to be supported by phylogenetic testing.