According to HIV epidemic estimation published by Ministry of Health, in 2009, the estimated number of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in China was 740,000, and 15% of them were infected by their spouses.
To better understand the issue of spousal transmission of HIV and its influencing factors, a survey was conducted in six cities/counties in Yunnan, Henan, Sichuan, Guangxi and Chongqing in 2011. The survey included a quantitative survey among 771 HIV serodiscordant couples (72.2% are HIV positive husband and HIV negative wife), qualitative interviews with medical staff including the CDC staff, HIV serodiscordant couples and people living with HIV/AIDS infected through male homosexual contact and their female spouses.
1. An increasing trend toward spousal transmission of HIV.
2. Proportion of PLWHA that disclose their HIV status themselves to their spouses is low in survey areas. The form of spousal notification is influenced by gender, transmission mode, and local policies.
3. Spouses of PLWHA raised their self-awareness of spousal transmission of HIV after being informed. The awareness levels varied among different genders of PLWHA and their spouses.
4. Most HIV serodiscordant couples reduced the frequency of sex after the HIV status was disclosed, but the rate of condom use is still low due to several influencing factors including accessibility of information, services and condoms, frequency of sex, education level, traditional practices and having or not having children.
5. Female spouses had less power in the sexual relationship, which increase their risk of HIV infection through spousal transmission.