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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 350195, 20 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/350195
Review Article

Mucosal Immunity in the Female Genital Tract, HIV/AIDS

1Discipline of General Pathology, Nephropathology Service, Federal University of Triangulo Mineiro, Rua Frei Paulino n° 30, Bairro Abadia, 38025-180 Uberaba, MG, Brazil
2Discipline of Immunology, Federal University of Triangulo Mineiro, Rua Frei Paulino n° 30, Bairro Abadia, 38025-180 Uberaba, MG, Brazil

Received 26 June 2014; Revised 27 August 2014; Accepted 28 August 2014; Published 15 September 2014

Academic Editor: Jerod A. Skyberg

Copyright © 2014 Juliana Reis Machado et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Mucosal immunity consists of innate and adaptive immune responses which can be influenced by systemic immunity. Despite having been the subject of intensive studies, it is not fully elucidated what exactly occurs after HIV contact with the female genital tract mucosa. The sexual route is the main route of HIV transmission, with an increased risk of infection in women compared to men. Several characteristics of the female genital tract make it suitable for inoculation, establishment of infection, and systemic spread of the virus, which causes local changes that may favor the development of infections by other pathogens, often called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The relationship of these STDs with HIV infection has been widely studied. Here we review the characteristics of mucosal immunity of the female genital tract, its alterations due to HIV/AIDS, and the characteristics of coinfections between HIV/AIDS and the most prevalent STDs.