On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first genetically confirmed case of HIV transmission between two women.
The women — a monogamous, mixed-HIV-status, Houston couple in their 40s — reported having no other sex partners for half a year before infection, and also reported regularly having sex during menstruation and with insertive sex toys which sometimes caused bleeding.
Researchers found a more-than-98 percent genetic match between each woman’s HIV viruses, “all but proving that one had infected the other.”
Previous studies of suspected female-to-female HIV transmissions have either not involved genetic testing or have involved other possible HIV-culprits such as male sex partners, IV drugs and blood transfusions.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office on Women’s Health suggests that women who have sex with women always use “condoms correctly… when using sex toys,” as well as “dental dams to lower the risk of getting or spreading HIV through oral sex.” They do acknowledge however “not much research has been done to prove that [dental dams] are effective.”