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Bidirectionality of AIDS questioned.

Heterosexual transmission of the AIDS virus may be less likely than has been thought, two new reports suggest.

At the recent American Public Health Association meeting in Washington, D.C., epidemiologist Nancy Padian of the University of California at Berkeley described her study of 22 women partners of men who had AIDS or antibodies to the AIDS virus. Only one woman's blood showed signs of infection.

Heterosexual transmission estimates have been based on incidence rates in Africa, the U.S. Armed Forces and partners of intravenous drug users and hemophiliacs (SN: 4/27/85, p. 260), but it is possible that different factors are at work in these instances, Padian says. Among the possibilities: coexisting disease that promotes virus spread, a move virulent form of the virus or a greater susceptibility in certain women.

But given her small sample size, Padian is not ready to exonerate heterosexual contact, either vaginal or anal. "I feel I can argue it either way at this moment in time," she says.

In the Dec. 13 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, B. Frank Polk of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore claims that no currently available data show significant female-to-male transmission of the AIDS virus, and that preliminary studies have failed to find the virus in cervical secretions from nonmenstruating antibody-positive women.
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Title Annotation:heterosexual transmission may be less likely than has been thought
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 4, 1986
Words:217
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