Current HIV/AIDS reports 15(2) 136-146 doi 10.1007/s11904-018-0383-2
PURPOSE OF REVIEW
This review will outline the multilevel effects of biological sex on HIV acquisition, pathogenesis, treatment response, and prospects for cure. Potential mechanisms will be discussed along with future research directions.
HIV acquisition risk is modified by sex hormones and the vaginal microbiome, with the latter acting through both inflammation and local metabolism of pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs. Female sex associates with enhanced risk for non-AIDS morbidities including cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, suggesting different inflammatory profiles in men and women. Data from research on HIV cure points to sex differences in viral reservoir dynamics and a direct role for sex hormones in latency maintenance. Biological sex remains an important variable in determining the risk of HIV infection and subsequent viral pathogenesis, and emerging data suggest sex differences relevant to curative interventions. Recruitment of women in HIV clinical research is a pathway to both optimize care for women and to identify novel therapeutics for use in both men and women.