Emerging Issues in Today’s HIV Response: Debate 3—Discordant Couples and HIV Transmission

On August 26, 2010, the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) co-hosted the third in a series of debates on emerging issues in the global response to HIV. In an era when development aid is under heavy pressure and the dynamics of the pandemic are constantly changing, it is imperative that governments, civil society organizations, and other partners have the best evidence and knowledge to maximize the effectiveness of development dollars and achieve results. The debate series was created with this in mind and was designed to advance discussion and begin to build consensus about thorny issues within the HIV community. The World Bank’s global video conferencing network and web-based technologies allowed country teams in Africa and other partners from across the globe to participate in real time in the debate (approximately 20 videoconference sites are connected at any given point in time). Additional information about the debate series can be found at This website contains the links to all proceeding reports of previous debates, as well as links to download and watch all three previous debates.

Debate 3 focused on discordant couples and HIV transmission, and was based on the following proposition: Intracouple HIV transmission between couples in long-term stable partnerships drives a majority of HIV transmission and should receive the majority of HIV prevention funding. The debate was moderated by Karl Hofmann, President and CEO of Population Services International. Two panelists spoke in favor of the proposition: Dr. Elizabeth Marum, Senior Regional Advisor in HIV Prevention, Division of Global AIDS, Center for Global Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and Dr. Susan Allen, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the School of Medicine, Emory University.