New Route of Transmission for HIV Discovered

US Researchers have discovered that HIV can penetrate healthy vaginal tissue to infect immune cells.

by Jennifer Bunn, RN


According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), more than half of new cases of HIV infection worldwide occur in women. In the US, women account for 26 percent of all new HIV cases. It has long been thought that the female genital tract, when intact, was an effective barrier to the HIV virus; now new research proves this theory wrong.

This is an important breakthrough in AIDS research, as up until now, scientists have not been sure of how sexual transmission of HIV occurs. This new knowledge may lead to a vaccine for women or a medication to kill the virus, which can protect women against infection with HIV.



In light of this knowledge, it seems that condoms are still your best bet to prevent coming in contact with the virus. However, many men and women are reluctant to use them. Condoms are 100 percent effective in blocking HIV from penetrating vaginal tissues, say researchers.

The FDA has recommended approval for a new female condom which should cost about a third as much as the first-generation female condoms (female condoms are approximately 7 times as expensive as male condoms) and will be safe for those who are allergic to latex to use. If approval moves along as quickly as projected, the new female condoms should be available some time in the New Year.

In light of this new research, more women may be in favour of using the new-and- improved female condom.

Related Links:

Video: Making Condoms Comfortable from illumistream

Female Condom from Planned Parenthood