In the absence of prospectively collected transmission data, the transmission potential of a sexually transmissible infection (STI) can be estimated by its proxy of concordance in sexual partners. Here we report concordance data of 3 viral STIs: human papillomavirus (HPV), HIV, and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) among heterosexual couples in Kigali, Rwanda.
Cervical and penile HPV typing was performed among 166 community-sampled fertile couples in Kigali, Rwanda (median sampling interval 10 days (interquartile range: 5-36). HIV and HSV-2 serostatus, curable STIs, and sociobehavioral and clinical characteristics were also assessed.
Concordance rates for all 3 viral STIs were higher than expected by chance alone. Positive concordance among couples was 25% for HSV-2, 15.7% for any HPV, 8.4% for high-risk (HR)-HPV, and 6% for HIV. HR-HPV prevalence among women and men was 19.9% and 26.5%, respectively. Partner's HIV status was more strongly associated with HR-HPV detection in men (OR: 8.5; confidence interval: 2.9-24.6) than in women (OR: 1.9; confidence interval 0.5-6.7).
More than half of the couples were discordant for HIV, HPV, and/or HSV-2, indicating that prevention strategies directed to infected cases are important to protect their uninfected sexual partners.