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March 1989

Heterosexual Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission Among the Middle Class

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs Glaser and Strange) and Infection Control (Ms Rosati), The Staten Island (NY) Hospital.

Arch Intern Med. 1989;149(3):645-649. doi:10.1001/archinte.1989.00390030109021

• Patterns of heterosexual human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) spread among the middle class have not been previously reported. Thirty-nine (35 women and four men) heterosexual contacts of HIV-infected individuals were evaluated by a private infectious diseases practice located in a predominantly white middle-class borough of New York City. Thirty-five of 39 patients were white. The mean household income of all patients was $41 200. Source cases (28 men and four women) were predominantly intravenous drug abusers (IVDAs). After excluding those contacts who were referred because of HIV or hepatitis B virus infection, six of 27 women and one of three men who agreed to be tested were seropositive for HIV. Heterosexual HIV spread is occurring among the middle class, with the predominant sources being IVDAs who do not fit the stereotype of being minorities and lower class. Condoms were not regularly utilized in these relationships even though (1) 23 of 32 contacts became aware of their partners' risk behaviors before the diagnosis of HIV infection, and (2) 23 of 32 IVDAs had attended a methadone program. Such programs could be better utilized to provide HIV-related education since they provide access to many of these IVDAs.

(Arch Intern Med 1989;149:645-649)

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