The benevolent powers of the vaginal microbiome are even greater than we thought. In addition to aiding fertilization and protecting fetuses during pregnancy, healthy vaginal mucus that’s full of good bacteria can trap and immobilize HIV particles. The study examined the cervicovaginal mucus, or CVM, of 31 women and tested its ability to immobilize HIV particles. CVM samples that contained higher concentrations of D-lactic acid, which only bacteria can produce, did far better than others. The D-lactic acid wasn’t itself a barrier to HIV, but an indicator of something else going on that made certain types of CVM better at trapping the virus than others.
That something was Lactobacillus crispatus, a species of bacteria that could change the way we think about HIV prevention.
08 October 2015 | Slate
HIV-1 infection with multiple founder variants points to poorer clinical outcomes than infection with a single variant, according to a paper published today in Nature Medicine. In the study researchers analyzed large sample sets from two important HIV vaccine efficacy trials -- the Step HIV vaccine clinical trial (HVTN 502) and RV144, the landmark vaccine clinical trial conducted in Thailand -- to evaluate whether genetic characteristics of the founder viral populations could influence markers of clinical outcomes.
01 September 2015 | Eurekalert Inf Dis
Why is one of the most common gynaecological conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, schistosomiasis, misunderstood, under-researched and under-reported? It is a significant risk factor for HIV acquisition in women.
06 July 2015 | 50.50
"The rigor of the placebo-controlled iPrEx trial gave us access to the necessary data and specimens to address that question. What we found was what people have been looking for, for a long time - a correlation between future infection risk and a measureable immune response."
23 June 2015 | Medical Xpress
New UCLA research offers further evidence that cocaine use disrupts the immune system, making people who use it more likely to become infected with HIV.
19 June 2015 | UCLA press release
Matthew Hodson, of UK-based gay men’s health charity, GMFA, explains why arguments for not having sex with gay men who are HIV positive make little sense – and could actually pose a danger for those who are HIV negative
09 April 2015 | Gaystar News
Postmenopausal women’s cervicovaginal fluid had lower anti-HIV-1 activity than premenopausal women. Timing of menstrual cycle and hormonal contraception were not associated with differences in activity against HSV or HIV.
30 March 2015 | 2 Minute Medicine
Dr. Deborah Anderson from Boston University School of Medicine and her colleagues are challenging dogma about the transmission of HIV. Most research has focused on infection by free viral particles, while this group proposes that HIV is also transmitted by infected cells. While inside cells, HIV is protected from antibodies and other antiviral factors. Anderson chides fellow researchers for not using cell-associated HIV in their transmission models: "The failure of several recent vaccine and microbicide clinical trials to prevent HIV transmission may be due in part to this oversight." . The Journal of Infectious Diseases (JID) has devoted their December supplement to this important and understudied topic.
23 December 2014 | Medical News Today
Most microbicides work by targeting the virus itself, attempting to break it down or blocking its ability to infect a cell. However, the heightened infectiousness of HIV in the presence of semen appears to over-power any anti-viral effects the microbicides possess. The one exception to this finding is a different type of microbicide that acts on the host cells' receptors, stopping the virus from latching on from within. In the current study, this microbicide, [containing the drug called] called Maraviroc, was equally effective in preventing infection both with and without the presence of semen.
13 November 2014 | MedicalXpress
CDC director Tom Frieden says this about Ebola: "The only thing like this has been AIDS." In fact, the two viruses share similarities but also have big differences.
17 October 2014 | Poz magazine news