Publications & Reports

Role of semen in altering the balance between inflammation and tolerance in the female genital tract: does it contribute to HIV risk?

Cosnet L Rametse, Abraham J Olivier, Lindi Masson, Shaun Barnabas, Lyle R McKinnon, Sinaye Ngcapu, Lenine J Liebenberg, Shameem Z Jaumdally, Clive M Gray, Heather B Jaspan, Jo-Ann S Passmore
1 Division of Medical Virology, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), University of Cape Town , Cape Town, South Africa .


While the main reproduction aim of semen is the transport of spermatozoa to the female genital tract, seminal plasma is a complex fluid that also carries a broad array of immunologically active molecules. Seminal plasma has been shown to contain a diverse array of anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory soluble mediators that regulate immune responses within the female reproductive tract than can facilitate fertilization. Since the natural inflammatory response to semen deposition in the female genital tract may result in recruitment of activated HIV target cells into the female genital mucosa, we discuss the constituents of semen that may increase the risk for HIV infection in women.


  • Journal: Viral Immunology
  • Published: 01/06/2014
  • Volume: 27
  • Issue: 5
  • Pagination: 200-206