Interactions Between Genital Microbiota and Viral Sexually Transmitted Infections: Transmission, Prevention, and Treatment

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Purpose of Review: Recent technological developments have vastly improved our ability to study the host microbiome and its role in many disease states. Numerous other reviews have contributed to our understanding of single viruses and gut microbiota or immunological outcomes. Here, we report, in aggregate, the newest data on genital microbiota interactions with the three most common viral STIs. Recent Findings: Four themes emerge: (1) the repeatability of specific community state types corresponding with infection risk, (2) a role for the microbiota as both therapeutic target and major player in treatment efficacy, (3) a need for models in which to study the mechanisms at play in microbiota/virus interactions, and (4) the impact of microbiota populating external genitalia on viral transmission. Summary: The studies reviewed herein suggest a convoluted interplay between host microbiota and viral STIs. More mechanistic studies are needed in order to leverage these interactions to improve prevention and treatment strategies.