Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Open Forum Infectious Diseases









This study was done to characterize parameters associated with semen human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 ribonucleic acid (RNA) viral load (VL) variability in HIV-infected, therapy-naive men. Methods.

Paired blood and semen samples were collected from 30 HIV-infected, therapy-naive men who have sex with men, and 13 participants were observed longitudinally for up to 1 year. Human immunodeficiency virus RNA, bacterial load by 16S RNA, herpesvirus (Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus [CMV]) shedding, and semen cytokines/chemokines were quantified, and semen T-cell subsets were assessed by multiparameter flow cytometry. Results.

Semen HIV RNA was detected at 93% of visits, with >50% of men shedding high levels of virus (defined as >5000 copies/mL). In the baseline cross-sectional analysis, an increased semen HIV VL correlated with local CMV reactivation, the semen bacterial load, and semen inflammatory cytokines, particularly interleukin (IL)-8. T cells in semen were more activated than blood, and there was an increased frequency of Th17 cells and γδ-T-cells. Subsequent prospective analysis demonstrated striking interindividual variability in HIV and CMV shedding patterns, and only semen IL-8 levels and the blood VL were independently associated with semen HIV levels. Conclusions.

Several clinical and immune parameters were associated with increased HIV semen levels in antiretroviral therapy-naive men, with induction of local proinflammatory cytokines potentially acting as a common pathway.


Reproduced with permission of Oxford University Press. Open Forum Infectious Diseases

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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