Rare 'likely' female-to-female HIV case reported in US

Coloured scanning electron micrograph of a T-lymphocyte blood cell (green) infected with Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (red), causative agent of AIDS HIV (seen in red) is rarely transmitted between women through sexual contact

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US health officials have published details of a rare case of suspected female-to-female HIV infection.

A 46-year-old woman "likely acquired" the virus during a six-month monogamous relationship with a HIV-positive woman in Texas, said the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

She was infected with a strain that had a 98% genetic match to her partner's.

The virus can be transmitted when bodily fluids come into contact with cuts, abrasions and mucus membranes.

"In this case, the discordant couple [one HIV-infected partner and one uninfected partner] routinely had direct sexual contact - without using barrier methods for protection - that involved the exchange of blood through abrasions received during sexual activity," the CDC said in summary of ta weekly report.

The originally uninfected partner is said to have had a history of heterosexual relationships but none during the past 10 years.

She also had none of the other HIV exposure risks, including intravenous drug use.

Her partner, a 43-year-old woman, had stopped taking antiretroviral drugs in 2010.

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