Treatment News : Herpes Linked to HIV in Semen of Gay Men on ARVs

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May 24, 2013

Herpes Linked to HIV in Semen of Gay Men on ARVs

About 10 percent of gay men taking antiretrovirals (ARVs) still experience low-level HIV replication in their semen, and this HIV presence is associated with the shedding of herpes viruses, aidsmap reports. Reporting their findings in Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers studied 114 HIV-positive gay men taking ARVs who each had a viral load of less than 500 in their blood plasma; 88 percent of the group had a viral load less than 50, which is considered undetectable. The investigators studied the relationship between shedding in semen of seven different herpes viruses—including cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)—and HIV shedding in semen.

Eleven participants (9.6 percent) had detectable levels of HIV in their semen, while 72 (63.2 percent) had one ore more detectable herpes virus in their semen.  A total of 49 percent of the group had detectable CMV in their semen, and 31 percent had detectable EBV. Those with viral loads between 50 and 500 were more likely to have detectable levels of HIV in their semen.

High-level CMV shedding in semen was linked to HIV shedding in the genital tract. Among those with detectable HIV in their semen, 64 percent had high-level CMV shedding. By comparison, only 24 percent of those participants with undetectable HIV in their semen had high-level CMV shedding. Meanwhile, 73 percent of those with detectable HIV in their semen had high-level EBV shedding, compared with 26 percent of those with undetectable genital HIV.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.

To read the abstract, click here.

Search: herpes virus, HIV, antiretrovirals, shedding, semen, Clinical Infectious Diseases, cytomegalovirus, CMV, Epstein-Barr virus, EBV.

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  comments 1 - 4 (of 4 total)    

Michael Bard, San Francisco, 2013-05-30 02:28:44
Haven't heard of this story and the story you printed needs to be easier to understand.

eric systrom, honolulu, 2013-05-29 15:09:01
I tell young people ( I have had h.I.v. for 25 years) that once there is some data that is good news, there will be a down side. Example being a Med. to treat something will generally have a risk or a few years later researches will say that there is a unknown consequence. Even if h.I.v. is erradicated, there will be a new s.t.d. hot on it's heals. In 78 a friend of mine went to get treatment for the clap and the nurse there suggested he use condoms. We all laughed about it then. She was right.

polypagan, Berea, KY, 2013-05-29 12:19:06
As always, "more research needed". It would be valuable to have more data from people with undetectable VL's.

Joe Monroe, Santa Fe, 2013-05-29 11:14:46
I have been undetectable for 18 years straight. I can't believe that there would be that much junk in my semen. Wouldn't I be less likely to carry these infections, being undetectable for 18 years? This article is disturbing to me as I leak semen. I thought undetectable gave less of a chance to pass this stuff on. This is a whole new ball game to me. Been dating HIV negative men for years with no angry phone calls. So does that just mean they have been lucky? I have been playing safe.

comments 1 - 4 (of 4 total)    

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