New Publication from DC CFAR Investigator, Mimi Ghosh, PhD

Dr. Mimi Ghosh Photo
July 16, 2018
This article discusses a study seeking to better understand immuno-biological mechanisms linking sexual violence and HIV susceptibility. Sexual violence is associated with increased risk of HIV acquisition/ transmission in women, and forced sex can result in physical trauma to the reproductive tract as well as severe psychological distress. Using the Women's Interagency HIV Study repository, a total of 77 women were selected to form 4 groups, stratified by HIV serostatus, in the following categories: 1) no sexual abuse history and low depressive symptom score (below clinically significant cut-off, scores <16) (Control); 2) no sexual abuse history but high depressive symptom score, ≥16 (Depression); 3) chronic sexual abuse exposure and low depressive symptom score (Abuse); 4) chronic sexual abuse exposure and high depressive symptom score (Abuse+Depression).  These groups were then measured for  inflammation-associated cytokines/ chemokines/proteases, anti-inflammatory/ anti-HIV mediators, Elafin, beta defensin 2, and wound-healing mediators. Findings indicated a complex relationship between chronic sexual abuse exposure, depressive symptoms, and female reproductive tract immune mediators that are also affected by HIV status. Additionally, association of chronic sexual abuse with increase in inflammation-associated cytokine/chemokine expression, along with impaired wound-healing associated growth-factors can create a microenvironment that can facilitate HIV infection. 
Click here to read the full article.