Co-first authors – equal contribution.
Immunobiology of Genital Tract Trauma: Endocrine Regulation of HIV Acquisition in Women Following Sexual Assault or Genital Tract Mutilation
Version of Record online: 4 OCT 2012
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S
American Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Special Issue: Sexual Violence and HIV Transmission
Volume 69, Issue Supplement s1, pages 51–60, February 2013
How to Cite
Immunobiology of genital tract trauma: endocrine regulation of HIV acquisition in women following sexual assault or genital tract mutilation. Am J Reprod Immunol 2012; 00: 00–00, , .
- Issue online: 6 FEB 2013
- Version of Record online: 4 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 7 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Received: 2 SEP 2012
- NIH. Grant Numbers: AI51877 and AI071761, AI102837
- Adaptive immunity;
- female genital mutilation;
- female reproductive tract;
- HIV ;
- immune cells;
- innate immunity;
- window of vulnerability sexual trauma
Studies on HIV acquisition and transmission in women exposed to sexual trauma throughout their life cycle are lacking, but some findings suggest that rates of HIV acquisition through coercive sex are significantly higher than that seen in consensual sex. Sexual trauma can also occur as a result of female genital mutilation, which makes sex extremely painful and can cause increased abrasions, lacerations, and inflammation, which enhances the risk of HIV acquisition. This review presents an overview of the immune system in the human female reproductive tract (FRT) from adolescence, through puberty to pregnancy and menopause. What is clear is that the foundation of information on immune protection in the FRT throughout the life cycle of women is extremely limited and at some stages such as adolescence and menopause are grossly lacking. Against this backdrop, forced or coercive sexual intercourse as well as genital mutilation further complicates our understanding of the biological risk factors that can result in transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.