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Scientists Now Know Precisely What To Blame for Spreading HIV Between Two Men. And It Isn’t Satan

Well sure, we know that HIV can pass between two men when they have sex with each other, and one man’s semen enters the other dude’s body, but hello, it’s more complicated than that. And now scientists have found out exactly which part of your jizm is responsible for infecting other people.

In a new report published in the journal Science (abstract here), UC San Diego’s Dr. Davey Smith and colleagues reveal that it’s the RNA in semen — which is composed of sperm, white blood cells, and seminal plasma fluid — that’s responsible for spreading the virus between two men; the research didn’t include data on transmission during lesbian sex.

“HIV in semen comes in two contagious forms — DNA in the white blood cells and free-floating RNA in the seminal fluid,” summarizes CBC. “Until now, researchers did not know whether HIV RNA or DNA was transmitted during sex. Smith and his colleagues used genetic analysis to trace the ancestral history of the virus in six pairs of men, the source partners, who sexually transmitted their HIV to other men, the recipient partners. To investigate, the researchers compared the virus found in the recipients to the DNA and RNA versions in the men who infected them. RNA was the closest match, leading the team to conclude HIV originated from RNA in the seminal fluid of the source partners.”

What’s all this mean? For one, it’s great news for drug companies looking to cash in HIV drugs, particularly HIV vaccines, as they have more direction on how to target the transmission zone. And secondly, it’s given us the opportunity to whip our our eighth grade biology textbooks and remember what the difference between RNA and DNA is.

By:           editor editor
On:           Feb 12, 2010
Tagged: , , , ,
  • 18 Comments
    • pogobock
      pogobock

      This is all Obama’s fault.

      Feb 12, 2010 at 1:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dick Mills
      Dick Mills

      If that were the only means of transmission, then the self avowed 100% tops would never become infected. And, we know that is not the case. Also, one would then necessarily be equally concerned about oral sex, as an equal amount of RNA would be transferred in that case. Of course, there is also free-floating RNA in blood (perhaps the reason why blood transfusions have transmitted the virus in the past), and as such, one would think that any form of sexual contact which has the possibility of blood-blood of blood-semen contact would be capable of passing the virus.

      Feb 12, 2010 at 3:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • brandon
      brandon

      Dick…
      RNA is also present throughout the GI tract. including the sloughed off membranes and mucosal lining of the rectum. It is wholly possible that those 100% tops also contract the virus in this same manner as the urethra is a hole in which small amount of mucous and epithelial cells of the bottom enter. (Especially when there is ejaculation and no condom.)Also any form of sexual contact DOES carry the risk of contracting the virus through blood-blood blood-semen. If you are insinuating oral sex carries no risk of infection, you are wrong. There is less risk because protein and nucleic acids are denatured and digested in the stomach rendering the RNA broken and not infective. RNA seems to be the likely mode of transmission.

      Feb 12, 2010 at 4:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Virion
      Virion

      I also do not think that God is responsible either.

      Feb 12, 2010 at 6:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      HIV does not cause AIDS. Many of these scientists are simply cashing in on the HIV-AIDS notion in the same way that global warming cultists are attempting to cash in on the “man causes global warming” nonsense.

      The pharmaceutical industry loves the notion that HIV causes AIDS because it means big dollars. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the scientists who promote this notion are funded by the very same industries that will profit from anti-viral drugs.

      Be very, very careful when interpreting conclusions from one set of scientists. Often, those scientists are financially beholden to a government or corporation.

      Feb 12, 2010 at 6:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • damon459
      damon459

      @jason: If HIV doesn’t cause AIDS as you state what then does cause AIDS or are you one those people who thinks AIDS doesn’t exist? I mean come on really next you’ll tell us over eating doesn’t cause obesity. HIV does cause AIDS, Climate change is real man may no be solely responsible but you can’t argue weather vs climate change let alone the fact that HIV an AIDS were thought up by the GOV and drug companies.

      Feb 12, 2010 at 6:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • damon459
      damon459

      @pogobock: Trolling?

      Feb 12, 2010 at 6:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GDL
      GDL

      That summary was kind of misleading in saying free-floating RNA. The RNA genome of HIV is packaged in the virus. I doubt that naked RNA would last more than a few minutes in any body fluid given the fact that there are enzymes which chew up RNA everywhere along with RNA’s inherent chemical instability.

      Since HIV is a retrovirus, it integrates its genome into the host cell’s DNA. That means it can be transmitted in this integrated (proviral) form in your cells or as free virions. It’s been somewhat confusing about whether the cell component of semen (white blood cells like lymphocytes and macrophages) or the actual virus in the plasma component is the source of HIV infections in MSM.

      Feb 13, 2010 at 2:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Damon459,

      AIDS is a condition, not a disease. AIDS describes a condition where the body’s immunity has deteriorated to a point where it can no longer ward off diseases. The body succumbs to diseases it would not normally succumb to.

      AIDS is brought about by:

      a) drugs. Drugs are known to cause a deterioration of the immune system. Repeated use of drugs will cause a step-wise and long-term decline in the immune system.

      b) venereal diseases such as gonorrhea and syphilis. Such diseases are known to cause a deterioration of the immune system. Lack of treatment and continued exposure to various VD’s in saunas and sex clubs will, like continued drug use, cause a step-wise and long-term decline in the immune system.

      c) late nights and lack of sleep. Lack of sleep has a powerful negative effect on the immune system. Indeed, one of the reasons we need sleep is to maintain our immune system.

      d) amyl nitrate. This causes Karposi’s sarcoma.

      Feb 13, 2010 at 8:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • greenluv1322
      greenluv1322

      Hey why do you guys (Queerty) try to bring us up LESBIANS when talking about HIV? Really why? I don’t see this type of equality about any other LGBT issues. Seriously dudes LESBIANS don’t have semen. Duh!

      Feb 13, 2010 at 10:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dave
      Dave

      Well it’s quite obvious Jason’s an idiot.

      Feb 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • damon459
      damon459

      Idiot would be putting it nicely since I happen to know a few HIV + people and one person with full blown AIDS by CDC guidelines and he no other STD’s nor has he had any other STD’s. He never used drugs and very rarely ever drank. By Jason’s “guidelines” 99% of the world should have AIDS. You might as well try convincing me the holocaust never happened you’ll have just as much convincing me of that as you will convincing me HIV is a sham thought up by drug companies to get rich.

      Feb 14, 2010 at 3:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • damon459
      damon459

      BTW Karposi’s sarcoma is caused by Human herpesvirus 8 not amyl nitrate do some simple research next time, as this fact has been known since 1994.

      Feb 14, 2010 at 3:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lucius vorenus
      Lucius vorenus

      Jason is an idiot.

      Feb 14, 2010 at 9:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hardmannyc
      hardmannyc

      Jason: Yeah, Ryan White was really into party drugs and poppers.

      Fucking idiot.

      Feb 14, 2010 at 7:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Keep believing that HIV causes AIDS. The only people you are pleasing are the pharmaceutical companies who are making big dollars off your stupidity. They’re selling you expensive drugs that really don’t do anything.

      Maybe you should stop being promiscuous and start living healthy lifestyles. Hedonism addiction is difficult to get over, I concede that.

      Feb 14, 2010 at 8:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rob Moore
      Rob Moore

      @jason: Then how do you explain the rise in my t-cell count and the improvement in my immune function. When I was diagnosed with HIV, my t-cell count was rather low but rose to a normal level once I started a drug cocktail to lower my viral load of HIV. After a few years, my doctor suggested a drug holiday to give my liver a rest. Almost two years later, my t-cells were hovering just below 300 and my viral load had skyrocketed. I began to exhibit problems with my immune function. I resumed a drug cocktail and my viral load became undetectable, my t-cell count returned to normal range, and my immune function appears to be normal, once again. Coincidence?

      Feb 17, 2010 at 2:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rob Moore
      Rob Moore

      @jason: I haven’t had sex in years and did not use drugs, even weed. I don’t smoke, rarely drink, get plenty of sleep, and eat a healthy diet. I concede that I need to get more exercise.

      Feb 17, 2010 at 2:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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