Sperm - and not just the fluid that contains it - could play a significant role in the transmission of sexually-transmitted infections such as HIV, sexual health experts have said.
A team of researchers led by Ana Ceballos at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina found that sperm can transmit HIV to dendritic cells (DC), macrophages and T cells.
The study, which is published in the November issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, found that by infecting the DCs - which carry the virus and could potentially pass it on to T cells - sperm could be a key contributor to the spread of the virus.
"Ceballos et al show that HIV attaches to the surface of sperm and that these HIV carriers pass on the virus to DCs and other HIV targets," the researchers stated.
The Journal of Experimental Medicine was founded in 1896 at Johns Hopkins University in the USA.