NEWSFLASH: HIV Can Penetrate a Woman's Healthy Genital Skin

In a recent article in HealthDay News, U.S. researchers explained that they have identified a new route of male-to-female transmission of HIV - a route in which HIV can travel through the healthy genital skin of a female to reach immune cells in just four hours.

Prior to this discovery, it had been believed that the normal lining of the vaginal tract was an effective barrier to HIV during sex, due to the idea that the large virus could not penetrate the tissue. Unfortunately however, researchers at Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University found that HIV can penetrate normal, healthy genital tissue to a point where it can get to immune cells and infect them.

In their experiment, the researchers were able to track the viruses, using flourescent tags, as they penetrated the outermost lining of the female genital tract in female human tissue obtained through hysterectomy and in animal models.

This finding highlights even further the need for consistent latex condom usage, given that healthy, unbroken genital tissue is not a true barrier to the virus. The good news is, if this finding is confirmed in future studies and research, it could help in the development of new microbicides and vaccines to protect women against HIV. Given that women now make up approximately 50% of all persons living around the world with HIV, finding more methods of prevention have become more critical than ever.

Source: Yahoo! News