Though HIV is highly contagious, our bodies are pretty effective at keeping such viruses at bay. In fact, some research suggests that only about one in every 1,000 cases of unprotected sex with an HIV-infected person results in infection. In a recent study, researchers investigated what exactly it took for the AIDs virus to infect a person, research that will hopefully lead toward preventing future cases.

For the study, now published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists looked at the characteristics of certain HIV strains that allowed them to successfully break through all the boundaries put up by our immune system. They found that HIV strains that are able to replicate and spread efficiently have increased “transmission fitness” when it comes to infecting others. What’s more, the virus purposely selects these “fit” strains, something that could be bad news in our fight against HIV.

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Genital mucous is able to prevent most bacteria and viruses from entering the body, Medical Xpress reported. The team sought to understand what went wrong when HIV broke through these boundaries.

"Knowing the viral properties that confer the ability to transmit despite all of the human body's barriers to infection, might aid the development of vaccines against HIV-1," study co-author Beatrice Hahn said in a recent statement. “The next steps will be to dissect these mechanisms to define possible new targets for AIDS prevention and therapy."

In recent years, science has come very far in developing new and improved ways to prevent further HIV infections. For example, there are already HIV PreP tablets, which when taken on a daily basis can significantly cut your risk for contracting the virus. And last month, trials begin for an injectable form of the drug, which only needs to be administered every two months, Buzzfeed News reported.

Source: Iyer SS, Bibollet-Ruche F, Sherrill-Mix S, et al. Resistance to type 1 interferons is a major determinant of HIV-1 transmission fitness. PNAS . 2017


HIV Breakthrough: Trials Begin For Injectable Drug To Prevent Infection, Alternative To Daily Truvada

Trials Begin For Injectable Drug To Prevent Infection, Alternative To Daily Truvada