Genital Cytomegalovirus Replication Predicts Syphilis Acquisition among HIV-1 Infected Men Who Have Sex with Men.

Sexually transmitted infections (STI) are common among HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM). While behavioral factors are important in STI acquisition, other biological factors such as immune modulation due to chronic viral infection may further predispose to STI acquisition.
Post Hoc analysis including data collected over 12 months of follow-up from 131 HIV-infected MSM receiving antiretroviral therapy and screened for incident bacterial STI every 3 months.
Genital secretions collected at baseline were used to measure herpesvirus replication and inflammatory cytokines. Baseline predictors of STI were determined using survival analysis of time to incident STI.
All participants were seropositive for cytomegalovirus (CMV), and 52% had detectable genital CMV at baseline. Thirty-five individuals acquired STI during follow-up, sometimes with multiple pathogen (17 syphilis, 21 gonorrhea, 14 chlamydia). Syphilis acquisition was associated with genital CMV replication at baseline (19.1% CMV-shedders versus 4.8% non-shedders, p=0.03) and younger age (p=0.02). Lower seminal MCP-1 was associated with higher seminal CMV levels and with syphilis acquisition (p<0.01). For syphilis acquisition, in multivariable Cox-Proportional Hazard model adjusted hazard rates were 3.56 (95%CI:1.00-12.73) for baseline CMV replication and 2.50 (0.92-6.77) for younger age.
This post hoc analysis suggest that CMV-associated decrease in seminal MCP-1 levels might predispose HIV-infected MSM to syphilis acquisition, but not other STI. Future studies should determine underlying mechanisms and if a causal association exists.
AuthorsSara Gianella, Davey M Smith, Eric S Daar, Michael P Dube, Andrea Lisco, Christophe Vanpouille, Leonid Margolis, Richard H Haubrich, Sheldon R Morris
JournalPloS one (PLoS One) Vol. 10 Issue 6 Pg. e0130410 ( 2015) ISSN: 1932-6203 [Electronic] United States
PMID26061824 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural, Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.)

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