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HIV-infected vaginal cells do not transmit HIV if plasma viral load is undetectable, researchers find
Gus Cairns, 2016-02-15 10:00:00

A group of researchers, in experiments on mice, have cleared up an important question about HIV transmission. Although HIV-infected CD4 cells persist in the vagina even on antiretroviral therapy (ART) that fully suppresses free HIV in the blood and body fluids, these cells are not anything like numerous enough to pose any transmission threat.  

Two other studies that looked at genital changes after HIV infection have been published recently

In one, a study of the mucosal immune response in the vagina in HIV-positive women has found that some women develop broadly-neutralising antibodies, and an antibody profile similar to one already key to vaccine efficacy.

In the other, a study of the sperm of HIV-positive men has found that, although like HIV-negative men’s sperm, it contains proteins that enhance HIV infection, it also contains competing proteins that mitigate that effect.