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.
Fulltext HTML PDF ePub