A new study suggests that continued exposure to semen might help increase HIV resistance, a finding that could potentially aid in the development of new and better HIV prevention strategies.

In the study, researchers have found that frequent semen exposure triggers changes in vaginal and cervical microenvironment so that HIV resistance is naturally enhanced. The researchers hope that their findings will help develop strategies that inhibits the transmission of HIV from infected to normal individual.

The researchers at The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia in the US based conclusion on the study of the negative HIV test results involving sex workers. Female sex workers continue to test negative despite high sexual activity and lower use of condoms in the areas around the world where HIV rates are remarkably higher,

"Making the link between sex work, changes in immune state and semen exposure gives us an important piece of information that will hopefully help us establish whether or not chronic semen exposure and its effects on the female reproductive tract can contribute to HIV resistance in sex workers that remain uninfected despite the low condom use," said lead author of the study, Luis Montaner, reports the Times of India.

During the study, the researchers analysed a group of sex workers in San Juan in Puerto Rico with women who self-reported low semen exposure. All the sex workers had tested negative for HIV-1 virus and two groups of women belonged to the same area.

The two groups were compared on a number of factors, including HIV results, type of contraceptive used and rate of unprotected sex.

The study does not recommend sexual intercourse without a condom as it may actually increase the chances of contracting HIV. Instead, it suggests that there might be some unexpected long-term changes induced by frequent semen exposure that actually lowers the likelihood of infection but not complete elimination.

The complete details of the study have been published in the journal Nature, under Mucosal Immunology.

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