Study: Sun may increase chance for sex virus

☆ sex 在此指生殖器

Wednesday, March 31, 2004 Posted: 1653 GMT (0053 HKT)

ORLANDO, Florida (AP) -- When people soak up the rays in August, they could be working on more than a tan. A new study raises the possibility that all that sunshine increases the risk of papilloma virus infection.

☆tan 日晒后的颜色, 棕褐色
   papilloma virus

The researchers say their analysis of cancer screening tests from Holland supports the theory that sunlight suppresses women's immune defenses, so they are more likely to get a virus that causes cervical cancer.

☆ cervical cancer 子宫颈癌

The story is more complicated than that, however. Other evidence suggests that sunlight may also help protect against some other kinds of cancer.

Experts have long suspected that sunlight has powerful -- and perhaps conflicting -- effects on the body's tendency to develop a variety of diseases. The best example is the risk of too much sun triggering skin cancer.

☆ trigger 触发

However, many suspect sunshine can have less obvious influences, and can even affect susceptibility to a variety of everyday viruses like papilloma.

☆ susceptibility 易感性

These viruses are spread through sexual contact, and they are the most common cause of cervical cancer, a disease that kills about 4,000 U.S. women annually.

Although the virus can cause genital warts, most infected people have no outward symptoms.

"The sun is a kind of drug, a drug that influences whether a papilloma infection takes hold or not," said Dr. William Hrushesky, an authority on how disease patterns fluctuate over time.