Introduction: Little is known about the state of HIV transmission among married couples in Vietnam. This study aims to clarify HIV serostatus in this group and elucidate risk factors for intra-marital HIV transmission. Methods: In 2012, we enrolled a group of HIV-positive married men registered at the HIV outpatient clinic of a referral hospital in northern Vietnam, along with their wives. Sociodemographic, behavioural and clinical data were collected from men and wives. HIV serodiscordant couples were followed until March 2014 to determine seroconversion rate. A phylogenetic analysis was performed based on env V3 sequence to detail cluster formation among men. Results: Of the 163 HIV-positive men enrolled in the study, 101 (62.0%) had wives testing HIV-negative. Half ofmen reported injecting drug use (IDU) as a likely transmission route. Couples reported a high incidence of unprotected sexual intercourse prior to diagnosis; the median (inter quartile range) was 4 (4-8) times per month. Only 17 couples (10.4%) reported using condoms during at least half these instances. Multivariable analysis revealed IDU history among men was independently associated with HIV-negative wives (adjusted OR 0.31; 95%CI 0.10-0.95, p=0.041). Phylogenetic analysis of 80 samples indicated CRF01-AE. Of these, 69 (86.3%) clustered with IDU-associated viruses from Vietnam. No HIV seroconversion was identified during a follow-up of 61 serodiscordant couples, with 126.5 person-years of observation during which HIV-infectedmen were on antiretroviral drug therapy (ART). Conclusion: High HIV serodiscordance was observed among HIV-affected married couples in northern Vietnam. A large number of at-risk wives therefore remain HIV-negative and can be protected with measures including proper use of ART if couples are made aware of the serodiscordance through screening.
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