To the Editor.—
I read the recent article by Capello et al,1 documenting no seroconversion to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among Peace Corps volunteers (PCV) in Zaire, with great interest. This article provides further evidence against novel modes of transmission for this virus. Heterosexual and perinatal exposure remain the primary mode of HIV transmission in Africa. However, several aspects of this study warrant comment.Risk of infection through a single sexual contact depends on various factors, including prevalence of infection within the population (likelihood of encountering an infected partner), types of sexual activity, and factors such as host susceptibility. High rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), particularly those causing genital ulcerations, may greatly increase efficacy of HIV transmission. While the results of this study are not in question, several points should be made regarding the potential of this study to underestimate the risk of contracting HIV while in
Gottlieb F. Risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Among Peace Corps Volunteers in Zaire. Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(9):1925–1929. doi:10.1001/archinte.1992.00400210145028
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