Luc Montagnier studied viruses, the immune system, and cancer in France during the second half of the twentieth century. In his early career, Montagnier studied how cancer-causing viruses replicate and infect host cells. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008 for his team’s discovery that a retrovirus, human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, was the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. AIDS is a chronic condition that results from HIV infection and damages the immune system. People who have AIDS typically experience increased vulnerability to a variety of diseases. Before Montagnier’s research on the virus, the exact cause of AIDS remained unknown to researchers and healthcare professionals. Beyond discovering HIV as the cause of AIDS, Montagnier’s work advanced a general understanding of how viral infection affects the immune system of the host organism.
In July 2006, scientist Pablo Barreiro and colleagues published “Reproduction Options for HIV-Serodiscordant Couples,” in which they recommended methods for human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, serodiscordant couples to procreate. An HIV-serodiscordant couple is one in which one partner is HIV-positive, meaning they carry HIV, and the other is HIV-negative, meaning they do not carry the virus. HIV is a virus that can spread by sexual contact and it attacks the immune system, causing a person with the virus to have weakened responses to illnesses. Because HIV can transfer from a pregnant woman to a fetus, fetuses conceived in an HIV-serodiscordant relationship could also be HIV-positive. The article “Reproduction Options for HIV-Serodiscordant Couples” offers HIV-serodiscordant couples options on how to procreate without passing HIV on to each other or their offspring.