Treatment suppresses HIV in menstrual blood

The online edition of the US Journal of Infectious Diseases (on AIDSmap) reports that high concentrations of HIV treatment (ART) were found in the vaginal secretions of women in a study. The findings support the use of ART to prevent sexual transmission of HIV.

The investigators wanted to see if  ART had any effect on HIV in vaginal secretions, particularly during menstruation.

20 women taking Ritonavir, Atazanavir and Truvada were studied. They all had an undetectable viral load and had been on ART for a around of 14 months. Blood and vaginal samples were collected twice a week for three weeks and tested for levels of ART. High levels of ART were found, including during the women’s menstrual cycle.

“Our study provides evidence that high mucosal antiretroviral concentrations generally suppress local viral replication throughout the menstrual cycle in women on ART,” conclude the authors.

“Given the direct relationship between cervicovaginal HIV-1 RNA levels and female-to-male sexual transmission, our findings lend support for ART as a tool for the prevention of sexual transmission of HIV.”

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