Times of India
21 August 2010
Washington, DC USA
Scientists claim to have found evidence that HIV–1 in semen is different from HIV–1 in blood, possibly due to changes the virus undergoes in the male genital tract.
To better understand the process by which HIV is transmitted, experts compared the gene encoding the major surface protein of HIV in semen and blood. "In some men, the virus population in semen was similar to that in the blood, suggesting that virus was being imported from the blood into the genital tract and not being generated locally in the genital tract.
"We found two mechanisms that significantly altered the virus population in the semen, showing that virus can grow in the seminal tract in two different ways," Ronald Swanstrom of North Carolina University, who led the team, said.
In one way, one or more viruses grow rapidly in the seminal tract over a short period such that the viral population in semen is homogeneous as compared to the population in the blood. In the other way, the virus replicates in T cells in the seminal tract over a long period, creating a separate population of virus in semen that is distinct from the blood virus.
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