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Using oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) may prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs), a Canadian study suggests.
The pre-clinical study suggested that estradiol (E2) has protective effective against herpes virus by modulating the localized immune response in the vaginal mucosa. Previously published studies have reported that progestin-containing injectable contraceptives may increase the risk of acquiring HIV, genital herpes virus infection and HSV-2 infection.
The present study has contended that E2 could possess protective effect against genital herpes virus infection. The female sex hormone has the potential to enhance the immune system against viral infections.
If the results are validated in larger population, use of hormonal contraceptives could be pressed into the susceptible population, particularly women living in Sub-Saharan African regions, where STIs prevalence are unacceptably high.
In the pre-clinical study, the E2-mediated anti-viral protective mechanism has been proposed by the researchers, which may be extrapolated in the humans. The researchers believe that E2 can regulate T-cell mediated adaptive immune response in female sexual organs in a direct manner.
The study results were published in the PLOS Pathogens.