Inconsistent Use of Condom in Italian HIV-Serodiscordant Heterosexual Couples as Revealed by the Detection of Y Chromosomal (Yc) DNA in Vaginal Swabs

Jose Ramon Fiore1, *, Fabio Zoboli2, Mariantonietta Di Stefano2, Massimo Fasano2, Marwan Jabr Alwazzeh1, Pina Faleo2, Mohamed Omar Elnour Elamin1, Serena Bruno2, Teresa Antonia Santantonio2
1 Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Biochemistry, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, College of Medicine, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Clinic of Infectious Diseases, University of Foggia, College of Medicine, Foggia, Italy

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 3415
Abstract HTML Views: 1345
PDF Downloads: 608
ePub Downloads: 464
Total Views/Downloads: 5832
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 1899
Abstract HTML Views: 796
PDF Downloads: 354
ePub Downloads: 262
Total Views/Downloads: 3311

Creative Commons License
© 2019 Fiore et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Biochemistry, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, College of Medicine, Dammam, Saudi Arabia; Tel: 00966 13 896 6666;



The prevention of transmission of HIV infection is based on the regular and correct use of condom and studies on transmission rates are generally based on the self-report of condom use.

However, consistent data on different population suggest that this often leads to overreporting possibly due to social desirability. In addition, self-report of condom use does not consider improper use or breakage.


Vaginal biomarkers were proposed to detect exposure to semen and among these detection of chromosome Y DNA (Yc) appeared promising in different research settings.

Here, we searched for Yc in vaginal swabs of 33 Italian women, engaged in a regular heterosexual relationship with a HIV serodiscordant partner and reporting a regular use of condom during sexual intercourses.

Results & Discussion:

In 10 (30.3%) women Yc was detected, especially if the infected partner was male and if the couple did not have sons. This is confirmed in Italian heterosexual women and is already demonstrated in other populations: behavioural counselling is not always a valid tool and the self-reported use of condom is not fully reliable.


Further studies could help in the future to individuate more effective preventive strategies for both HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

Keywords: HIV infection, Sexual transmission, Condom use, Behavioural counselling, Self-reported condom use, Chromosome Y DNA, Vaginal swab.