In 2011, the World Health Organization estimated that there are 34 million individuals worldwide who are HIV-positive. This staggering number becomes even more tragic in the light of how debilitating and deadly the disease is. To make matters worse, there is no cure or vaccination for HIV despite incredible amounts of research that have been performed to this point. Researchers are now using animal models to get a better look at how the disease functions. There was not, however, a model that shows the process of what is now the most common means of transmitting HIV – sex between a male and female.

Recently, the first reports have been made using heterosexual intercourse between rodents. These reports may shed some more light on how this disease is transmitted. The most interesting finding is that a woman’s likelihood of having HIV transmitted to her via intercourse depends on what point she is at in her monthly menstrual cycle.

This is the first time that researchers have been able to study the disease actually being transmitted during sexual relations. In the past, researchers had always had to introduce the disease into the vagina of the female rodent. While the research was still beneficial, it did not have the same natural ramifications as actually seeing how the disease is passed during sex between a male and a female.

These new studies have allowed researchers to recognize that the conditions in the female reproductive system have a bearing on transmission of HIV. Researchers hope to be able to find a way to reduce the risk of infection for those who are the most likely to contract the disease. This is best way to slow the spread of HIV, which despite treatments, is still one of the most prevalent diseases plaguing mankind today.