Researchers at the University of California San Diego recently announced the results of a medical study to discover the origin of HIV transmission between men.
According to Dr. Davey Smith, an associate professor of medicine, this new information will go a long way in finding a cure to HIV.
“By knowing the origin of the transmitted virus, scientists may be able to develop new vaccines, vaginal microbicides and drugs to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted HIV,” he stated in a university news release.
According to HealthDay News:
At issue is the HIV in semen, which is made up of seminal cells and a fluid called seminal plasma. HIV particles with RNA inside exist in the fluid, while the seminal cells hold the DNA of HIV, the study authors explained.
The researchers used a type of genetic analysis to study men who had sexually transmitted their HIV to other men.
“Until now, it had not been established whether HIV RNA or DNA is transmitted during sex,” said Smith. “By analyzing the genetic differences between these two forms and the virus that was ultimately transmitted to newly infected individuals, we found that it was the HIV RNA form present in seminal plasma that was transmitted.”
Smith also noted that researchers believe that HIV RNA in the seminal plasma is likely the source of HIV transmission to women. However that evidence is inconclusive and needs to be confirmed.