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HIV infection among young women: the healthy carrier hypothesis

Michel Garenne, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)

The paper investigates inconsistencies in the patterns of male and female infection rates in four studies conducted in African populations: Kisumu in Kenya, Ndola in Zambia, Yaoundé in Cameroon, and the Radar project in South Africa. Data show that women aged 15-24 are more infected than their male partners, which is inconsistent with the assumed pattern of male to female transmission, whereas young men in the same age group are less infected than their female partners, which is consistent with the assumed pattern of female to male transmission. A simulation model is built to analyse the possible parameters of the heterosexual transmission that could explain these discrepancies. Results show that no realistic values of the parameters investigated (mean annual transmission rate and mean number of partners in particular) could explain the fast rise of seroprevalence among young women, whereas realistic values could explain observed values of seroprevalence among young men.

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Presented in Session 116: Determinants of STDs including HIV/AIDS