A new study published in mBio found that some women's vaginas are ALREADY protected from sexually transmitted diseases like HIV! And it's all thanks to the cervicovaginal mucus (CVM) which acts as a barrier that prevents a virus from getting to the cells of the vaginal epithelium (the tissue lining the inside of your vagina), or at least reduces the infections. Pretty awesome, right?
The scientists found that if your vagina's CVM has high concentrations of D-lactic acid and the good bacteria Lactobacillus crispatus, it can trap HIV-1. On the other hand, if your CVM has low concentrations of D-lactic acid and low levels of another type of Lactobacillus, or your CVM has a big amount of Gardnerella vaginalis, a bacterium associated with bacterial vaginosis, HIV-1 virions can easily spread and lead to an infection.
The great thing about this study? One day something will be developed from this and women will be protected from HIV!
Unfortunately, as of today, you won't really know the composition of your vaginal bacteria without going through a thorough lab test. (The barrier properties of CVM differs from one woman to another, and scientists have yet to understand what causes the difference.) So yes, that means safe sex for you. Hey, better safe than sorry, right?
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