Heterosexual transmission of human T cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type I among married couples in southwestern Japan: an initial report from the Miyazaki Cohort Study

J Infect Dis. 1993 Jan;167(1):57-65. doi: 10.1093/infdis/167.1.57.


To identify factors that may modify the heterosexual transmission of human T cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type I (HTLV-I), 534 married couples enrolled in the Miyazaki Cohort Study between November 1984 and April 1989 were studied: 95 husband HTLV-I-seropositive (H+)/wife seropositive (W+), 33 H+/W-, 64 H-/W+, and 342 H-/W-. After 5 years of follow-up, seven seroconversions occurred and clustered significantly among serodiscordant pairs (relative risk [RR] = 41.2); the rate of transmission was 3.9 times higher if the carrier spouse was male (P = .19). Among H+/W- couples, husband's age > or = 60 years strongly predicted seroconversion in the wives (RR = 11.5). All 4 carrier husbands whose wives seroconverted had HTLV-I titers > or = 1:1024 (P = .04) and were anti-tax antibody positive (P = .06). In cross-sectional analysis, total parity also was independently associated with wife's serostatus but only length of marriage with husband's. Overall, sexual transmission of HTLV-I was primarily from older infected husbands to their wives, with husbands' viral status being an important factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HTLV-I Antibodies / analysis
  • HTLV-I Infections / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Sexual Behavior


  • HTLV-I Antibodies