The role of vaginal protein composition for HIV susceptibility
A recent study led by Peter Nilsson (KTH/SciLifeLab) and Kristina Broliden (Karolinska Institutet) examines protein levels in vaginal secretions from HIV-negative women living in relationships with HIV-positive men. The results demonstrate that five proteins, related to barrier function and inflammation, are consistently more abundant in these women compared to a control group with uninfected partners. These identified proteins are suggested as important markers to monitor during assessment of HIV susceptibility.
Sexual transmission account for the vast majority of new HIV infections, and given that young women run a significantly higher risk of getting infected than males of similar age, seeking to understand biological factors affecting sexual transmission is a global health priority.