The Compartmental Biology of HIV in the Male Genital Tract

Research project

Description

The majority of cases of incident HIV-1 result from the exposure of vulnerable mucosal tissues (i.e. cervix, vagina, foreskin, and rectum) to HIV-1 in semen.1,5 Through intensive study it has become clear that HIV-1 transmission reflects the inoculum size,6 and specific properties of the virus.7 Inflammation in the genital tract of an HIV-infected person increases the concentration of virus,8 while inflammation in the HIV-negative person increases acquisition probability, through changes in the number of target cells reflected indirectly by changes in the signaling cytokine profile.1 The actual HIV-1 transmission event is caused typically by only 1 or a few viral “transmitted/founder” viruses,9 which have been studied intensively.7

Our group and others have worked to develop strategies to use ARVs for prevention,10 and to reduce the viral reservoir.11 Some (but not all) ARVs concentrate in the genital tract.12 Treatment of patients with ARVs reduces replication of HIV-1 in the male genital tract,13 and drastically reduces transmission of HIV-1 in heterosexual couples. In the HPTN 052 trial14 and in 10/12 observational studies15 HIV-1 transmission was reduced in couples to negligible levels.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date9/21/157/31/20

Funding

  • NIH National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD)

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HIV-1
HIV
Viruses
Inflammation
Foreskin
Heterosexuality
Vagina
Rectum
Cervix Uteri
Mucous Membrane
Cell Count
Cytokines