CDC: Rare female-to-female HIV transmission

By Ashley Hayes, CNN
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu March 13, 2014

Human immunodeficiency virus as seen through a microscope.
Human immunodeficiency virus as seen through a microscope.


  • A Texas woman apparently infected her female partner with HIV
  • Such transmission is rarely reported and “difficult to ascertain,” the CDC says
  • The newly infected woman reported no other risk factors for HIV

(CNN) — A Texas woman apparently contracted HIV through sexual contact with another woman, the Centers for Disease Control reported Thursday, a rare female-to-female transmission of the virus.

Testing confirmed the 46-year-old woman with newly diagnosed HIV “had a virus virtually identical to that of her female partner, who was diagnosed previously with HIV and who had stopped receiving antiretroviral treatment in 2010,” according to the CDC’s Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

HIV transmission through female-to-female sexual contact “has been reported rarely and is difficult to ascertain,” officials said.

Past confirmation of such transmission “has been difficult because other risk factors almost always are present or cannot be ruled out,” the report said. “In this case, other risk factors for HIV transmission were not reported by the newly infected woman, and the viruses infecting the two women were virtually identical.”

The CDC said it was contacted by the Houston Department of Health about the case in August 2012.

The woman newly diagnosed with HIV did not report any other risk factors, such as injection drug use, tattooing, transfusions or transplants, officials said. She supplemented her income by selling plasma, and tested negative for HIV in March 2012.

Ten days after donating plasma, however, in April 2012, she went to an emergency room complaining of a sore throat, fever, vomiting and decreased appetite, among other symptoms. She again tested negative for HIV.

However, she tested positive for HIV when attempting to sell plasma 18 days later, and further testing confirmed the diagnosis.

The woman is believed to have been infected by her 43-year-old sexual partner, the CDC said. She told officials the woman was her only sexual partner during the six months before she tested positive.

The couple said they routinely had unprotected sexual contact and shared sex toys between them. At times, the contact was “rough to the point of inducing bleeding in either woman,” according to the CDC. The women said some of the unprotected sexual contact occurred during menstruation.

Commonly, HIV infections in women who have sex with women are traced to risk behaviors such as intravenous drug use or heterosexual sex, the CDC said.


Pfizer Recalls Some Antidepressants After Drug Mixup

Action taken after pharmacist found a heart drug among Effexor/Venlafaxine, FDA says.

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Two lots of Pfizer’s antidepressant drug Effexor XR (venlafaxine HCl) are being recalled because they may contain capsules of another drug called Tikosyn (dofetilide), which is used to treat heart rhythm disorders.

The recall also includes one lot of generic Greenstone brand venlafaxine HCl capsules, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday.

The agency said that unknowingly taking Tikosyn could have serious and potentially fatal consequences.

The recall is for:

  • one lot of 30-count Effexor XR 150-milligram extended-release capsules,
  • one lot of 90-count Effexor XR 150-milligram extended-release capsules,
  • and one lot of 90-count Greenstone venlafaxine HC1 150-milligram extended-release capsules.

The Pfizer drug lot numbers are V130142 and V130140, and have an expiration date of October 2015. The Greenstone lot number is V130014, which has an expiration date of August 2015.

The voluntary recall comes after a pharmacist found that a bottle of Effexor XR contained one capsule of Tikosyn 0.25 milligram, the FDA said.

The agency advises pharmacists to immediately halt sales of the recalled lots of the drugs and notify customers who’ve been sold the drugs. Patients with the recalled medicines should contact their doctor and/or return them to their pharmacy.


Patients who have been prescribed Effexor XR/Venlafaxine HCl but think they may have mistakenly taken a Tikosyn capsule should immediately contact their doctor or a hospital, Pfizer said.

They should monitor themselves for signs of abnormal heartbeat and seek medical help if they feel faint, become dizzy, or have a fast heartbeat, the drug maker said.

For more information about the recall, call Pfizer at 1-800-438-1985, Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET or Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

Here’s How Much Your State Is Losing If It Didn’t Expand Medicaid

Following a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that made Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act optional for states, 20 states have opted out of the reform, rejecting billions of dollars of federal funding for low-income residents. Texas and Florida will lose more than $9 billion and $5 billion, respectively.

The following map indicates the net loss of federal funds by 2022, in millions, for the 20 states choosing not to participate in Medicaid expansion, assuming all other states participate, according to data from the Commonwealth Fund:




The Commonwealth Fund report categorizes Pennsylvania as a participating state in Medicaid expansion, while the Kaiser Family Foundation and Pew Charitable Trust have classified it as “under debate.” Pennsylvania would lose out on $4,780,000,000 if it decides against expansion. Other states in a similar categorical situation, with Kaiser and Pew classifying their participation status differently from the Commonwealth report, are Indiana, Tennessee, Montana and Virginia.

If adopted by all states, the Medicaid expansion — designed for residents at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level — is projected to provide 21.3 million Americans with affordable health care by 2022 while reducing states’ uncompensated health care expenses. The ACA’s expansion program covers 100 percent of Medicaid costs for new enrollees through 2016, gradually reducing assistance to 90 percent cost coverage by 2020. Many of the states refusing to expand Medicaid under the ACA cite potentially harmful fiscal impacts on their state budgets, although expanding Medicaid coverage costs less than 1 percent of state budgets on average, according to a December report by the Commonwealth Fund.

A state-by-state breakdown:

Alabama: -$943,000,000

Alaska: -$229,000,000

Florida: -$5,038,000,000

Georgia: -$2,862,000,000

Idaho: -$297,000,000

Kansas: -$950,000,000

Louisiana: -$1,655,000,000

Maine: -$294,000,000

Mississippi: -$431,000,000

Missouri: -$2,249,000,000

Nebraska: -$738,000,000

North Carolina: -$2,591,000,000

Oklahoma: -$1,264,000,000

South Carolina: -$807,000,000

South Dakota: -$224,000,000

Texas: -$9,217,000,000

Utah: -$719,000,000

Virginia: -$2,839,000,000

Wisconsin: -$1,848,000,000

Wyoming: -$166,000,000

UPDATE — 6:38 p.m.: This post has been updated with additional information about the Commonwealth report’s classification of several states’ participation in Medicaid expansion. The number of states rejecting Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has also been updated to include Wyoming, making the correct number 20, not 19.


Study Sheds Light on Connecting HIV Epidemics in Different Populations How cross-population relationships affect AIDS rates and prevention strategies

Although community network studies show that sexual relationships occur between heterosexuals and members of “risk groups,” such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and injection and non-injection drug users (IDU and NIDU), little research has been done to help explain how HIV epidemics  and programs in one population affect others and how to reduce the risks of  transmission.

A recent study also conducted by researchers from New York University’s Center for Drug Use and HIV  Research (CDUHR), led by Samuel R. Friedman, PhD, Director of both CDUHR’s  Interdisciplinary Theoretical Synthesis Core, and the Institute for Infectious  Disease Research at the National Development Research Institutes (NDRI), explores  the pathways connecting HIV epidemics in different populations.

It shows that programs for people who use drugs—like syringe  exchanges, HIV counseling and testing, and drug abuse treatment—are associated  with subsequent lower rates of AIDS incidence and death among heterosexuals.

“Since existing theory and research have relatively little  to say about the cross-population processes being studied, we used exploratory  analytic technique to study these relationships,” explains Dr. Friedman.

The objective of the study was to better understand how  epidemics among MSM and I/NIDUs correlate with later epidemics and mortality  within heterosexuals; how prevention programs targeting specific groups affect  future epidemics among other populations; and whether the size of the risk  group populations are associated with the later epidemics and mortalities among  heterosexuals. The study was published in the Annals of Epidemiology.

The study looked at data from 96 large U.S.  metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) from 1992 to 2008. Although the study  highlights the necessity of future studies, it found that HIV counseling and  testing in drug users was associated with lower AIDS incidence in  heterosexuals, while counseling and testing in MSM were not; and that  availability of syringe exchange programs and drug abuse treatment programs  were associated with lower AIDS death rates among heterosexuals.

The study also highlights a link between racial/ethnic  residential segregation and rates of AIDS incidence and mortality among  heterosexuals and points to evidence pairing social causations like income  inequality with mortality.

“Our findings are descriptive of the relationships of the  measured variables in these large metropolitan areas,” said Friedman. “They do  not, however, imply that these findings can necessarily be extended to smaller  MSAs, non-metropolitan localities, other time periods or other countries—for  that, further research is clearly needed.”

2014 National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS

Heavenly Father,

I pray for my brothers and sisters, who live daily with
HIV and AIDS, I ask that You be the lifter of their bowed down heads. That You
will be their strength when they are weakened by the weight of their burden, and
remind them that You are still a burden bearer.
I pray that You will restore
to them the joy of their salvation, knowing that You have called them by their
names and they belong to You, and that they are precious in Your

Grant my sisters and brothers the peace of God that surpasses all
human comprehension, knowing that You are Love and have chosen to lavish Your
great love on each of them.

Speak to those have chosen to live in
isolation and suffer depression and give them the confidence to live every day
with intention.

Help us all to be mindful that each day is a gift, and
as long as we have breath we can be used as instruments in Your hands in service
to one another. Thank you for daily giving us the assurance of Your new

In Jesus Name I pray


Dr. Eunice Shaw