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Scientists Discover Women's Lady Parts More Susceptible to HIV Than Thought

Scientists Discover Women's Lady Parts More Susceptible to HIV Than Thought


This new study shows to truly protect women from HIV, the entire reproductive tract needs to be considered.

The female reproductive tract is highly susceptible to HIV, according to a new study published in PLoS Pathogens, which may change the way scientists approach studying HIV transmission in women.

Researchers have primarily examined how HIV is transmitted to women by examining only the cervix and not the other parts of the female reproductive system. To determine whether HIV actually is more or less potent in other areas, scientists at Northwestern University conducted a study of female rhesus macaques and how susceptible their reproductive tract is to the simian immunodeficiency virus (the primate version of HIV).

The scientists created an artificial version of SIV that infects cells the same way HIV does. They found that the virus is able to quickly spread and can infect other parts of the female reproductive tract, from the vagina to the ovaries and everything in between. In fact, the trial showed that the virus entered multiple parts of the reproductive system.

Based on their findings, the researchers say the entire female reproductive tract “should be considered as potentially susceptible to HIV infection.” They also recommend that any mechanisms created to prevent HIV infection in women should take the entire reproductive system into account to truly protect against the virus.

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