US health officials have published details of a rare case of suspected female-to-female HIV infection.
A 46-year-old woman "likely acquired" the virus during a six-month monogamous relationship with a HIV-positive woman in Texas, said the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
She was infected with a strain that had a 98% genetic match to her partner's.
The virus can be transmitted when bodily fluids come into contact with cuts, abrasions and mucus membranes.
"In this case, the discordant couple [one HIV-infected partner and one uninfected partner] routinely had direct sexual contact – without using barrier methods for protection – that involved the exchange of blood through abrasions received during sexual activity," the CDC said in summary of ta weekly report.
The originally uninfected partner is said to have had a history of heterosexual relationships but none during the past 10 years.
She also had none of the other HIV exposure risks, including intravenous drug use.
Her partner, a 43-year-old woman, had stopped taking antiretroviral drugs in 2010.
HIV (seen in red) is rarely transmitted between women through sexual contact
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