Report Preclinical Finding: Repeated Semen Exposure Promotes Host Resistance to Infection

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    tom_mai78101 The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host Staff Member

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    PHILADELPHIA — (Aug. 21, 2019) — Contrary to the long-held view that semen can only act as a way to transmit HIV-1 from men to women, scientists at The Wistar Institute and the University of Puerto Rico found that frequent and sustained semen exposure can change the characteristics of the circulating and vaginal tissue immune cells that are targets for infection, reducing the susceptibility to a future infection. This finding, published in the journal Nature Communications, also provides a potential explanation as to why a small number of female sex workers worldwide continue to test negative for infection despite continuous high-risk sexual activity.

    Research previously reported by the laboratory of Luis J. Montaner, D.V.M., D.Phil., the Herbert Kean, M.D., Family Professor and director of the HIV-1 Immunopathogenesis Laboratory at Wistar’s Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, together with investigators at the University of Puerto Rico, showed in a 2015 paper how continued semen exposure in female sex workers resulted in changes in the cervicovaginal tissue that predicted an increased resistance to HIV infection. The current study directly addressed if semen could be a factor in resistance.

    “While HIV infection has been with us for more than 30 years, this is the first study that describes how semen exposure over time could result in local tissue changes that limit HIV infection in humans,” said Montaner, who is the lead author of the new study. “Apart from defining a new factor that may regulate HIV transmission, this unexpected finding could directly impact the design of future HIV vaccine studies that commonly recruit female sex workers. Currently, condomless sex is assumed to only promote the likelihood of infection. Our observation, however, raises the hypothesis that frequent semen exposure may potentially reduce HIV transmission.”


    Read more here. (The Wistar Institute)
     

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