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Medical News

STDs Increase HIV Risk if Exposed

September 11, 2008

People with chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, and syphilis are at an increased risk for HIV infection if they are exposed to the virus, findings from Dutch researchers show.

Teunis B.H. Geijtenbeek and colleagues at Amsterdam's VU University Medical Center used an ex vivo human skin explant, isolation of cells from a piece of tissue, to describe how STDs can increase acquisition of HIV-1.

In the model, while immature immune cells called Langerhans cells captured HIV, they did not effectively transmit the virus to T-cells -- a requirement for the initiation of full disease. However, efficient transmission of HIV was observed if Langerhans cells were activated by inflammatory stimuli.

Since the infectious agents that cause the STDs thrush and gonorrhea triggered the same inflammatory stimuli in vaginal and skin explants, the authors suggested that the presence of STD-causing infectious agents could cause Langerhans cells to become activated, therefore increasing a person's risk of HIV infection.

In addition, the study data suggests that anti-inflammatory therapies may prove to prevent HIV transmission, the researchers said.

The study, "TNF-alpha and TLR Agonists Increase Susceptibility to HIV-1 Transmission by Human Langerhans Cells Ex Vivo," was published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (2008;doi:10.1172/JCI34721).

Back to other news for September 2008

Adapted from:
United Press International

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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