Britain To Fund Study on Discordant Kenyan Couples Who Do Not Transmit HIV to Each Other
Britain is providing almost $840,000 as part of an HIV/AIDS grant to Kenya to study 160,000 "discordant couples," or couples in which one person is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative, London's Daily Telegraph reports. The study will look at couples in Kenya's Nyanza province, which borders Lake Victoria. According to the Telegraph, HIV/AIDS prevalence rates along the lake's shores are some of the highest in the world -- most likely because of local customs, such as an "aversion to circumcision" and widow inheritance, in which widows are "inherited" by their brother-in-law after their husband's death. However, early surveys, show that up to 40% of HIV-positive people in the area have not transmitted the virus to their partners, despite "regularly engaging in unprotected sex over long periods of marriage," the Telegraph reports. "Essentially, there are still great gaps in what we know about discordant couples," James Gesami, Nyanza's chief provincial medical officer, said, adding, "But we have been able to make some guesses" about why transmission has not occurred. Some of these reasons might include less frequent sexual relations because of long travels for work, not having "rough" intercourse, or an inaccurate survey because of a "low point" in new infections, according to the Telegraph. Marilyn McDonagh, Kenya program director for health for Britain's Department for International Development, added, "Whatever the reason, we want to make sure we reach as many of these discordant couples and get them tested so that we can counsel them if one is still negative and keep them negative" (Pflanz, Daily Telegraph, 12/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.