A biomarker for the efficacy of new antiretroviral microbicides?

A recent study claims to have proved the correlation between HIV-1 RNA in the genital secretions of infected individuals and HIV transmission (Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient ρ was 0.56 for endocervical samples, and 0.55 for semen).  Mechanisms of transmission of HIV transmission through genital mucosa are still not well understood.  But, prior to this study, […]

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The records of the US syphilis experiments in Guatemala: read them yourself!

Now open to public access: the documents at the heart of last October’s scandal over unethical experiments by US researchers in Guatemala.  In 1946-48, the US team, seeking an opportunity to study the effectiveness of penicillin against syphilis and gonorrhoea, conducted experiments involving the deliberate exposure to those diseases of 700 Guatemalan soldiers, mental health […]

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HIV infection and female genital tract immunity

A recent article offers a systematic review of the literature concerning the influence of clinical characteristics (e.g. pregnancy or STI history) on female genital tract immunity to HIV. This review places itself against the background of an increasing shift in HIV research from systemic considerations relating to transmission of the infection – “the blood compartment” […]

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Just supposing Trichomonas Vaginalis proved not to be an exclusively sexually transmitted infection after all …… ?

A recent laboratory study based on specimens from 766 US patients with vaginal symptoms evaluates the performance of the current US FDA (Federal Drugs Administration) approved diagnostic test for Trichomonas Vaginalis (BD Affirm VPIII hybridization) against a modern molecular amplification based test (Gen-Probe Aptima). The greater sensitivity of the new test emerges clearly in this […]

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What role for antiretroviral microbicides in the future combat against HIV?

At the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), meeting in Boston (27th February – 2nd March) researchers reported results from two trials involving the use of antiretroviral drugs, currently used in therapy, for the prevention of HIV transmission. These trials (MTN 001 & RMP-02/MTN-006) are just two among a whole programme of HIV-related […]

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Chlamydia Internet-based self-screening: ‘another tool in our tool-box’?

A recent paper gives details of an Internet-based self-screening programme for Chlamydia in Baltimore, Maryland, running since 2004.  The web site was advertised on the radio and in free community magazines, and kits made available at community locations, or sent on the Internet or in response to phone request.  Participants return a questionnaire with their […]

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So the “clap” has a human side!

Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a nimble bacterium, and past master at adapting itself to resist the challenge of our antibiotics.  So maybe we shouldn’t be surprised at this latest accolade: to have been the first proven case of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) between organisms as disparate as the bacterium and a human being!  A recent study […]

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Do intravaginal practices make African women susceptible to HIV?

February saw the publication of what is probably the largest study of the association in sub-Saharan Africa between intravaginal practices – e.g. cleaning with cloth, paper or soap – and HIV incidence. It is a meta-analysis pooling data of 15,000 women deriving from 13 prospective longitudinal cohort studies.  A preponderance of HIV affected sub-Saharans are […]

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