Scientists have for the first time grown vaginal skin cells outside the body to better identify the good bacteria that protect women from HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the Oak Crest Institute of Science in Pasadena, California, set out to study the relationship between the skin cells and the "good" bacteria. The health of the human vagina depends on a symbiotic/mutually beneficial relationship with "good" bacteria that live on its surface feeding on products produced by vaginal skin cells. These good bacteria, in turn, create a physical and chemical barrier to bad bacteria and viruses including HIV.
What is HIV?
HIV is a virus that attacks the body's immune system-the body's defence against diseases. The latest research suggests that between 70 and 90 per cent of people may experience symptoms of infection a few days after having been infected. Three symptoms occuring together: fever, rash and a severe sore throat should always be considered a potential indicator of HIV infection.