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J Infect Dis. 2000 May;181(5):1622-8. Epub 2000 Apr 26.

The effects of protease inhibitor therapy on human immunodeficiency virus type 1 levels in semen (AIDS clinical trials group protocol 850).

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7030, USA.


Antiretroviral therapy may lead to decreased shedding of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in genital secretions. Thirty men, 19 receiving amprenavir and 11 receiving amprenavir, zidovudine, and lamivudine, donated blood and semen while undergoing treatment, to evaluate the effects of these medications on HIV-1 shedding in semen. Before therapy, 4 men had HIV-1 RNA levels in seminal plasma >6.0 log10 (1 million) copies/mL, markedly higher than levels in blood plasma. Most men (77%) had HIV-1 RNA levels in seminal plasma below the limit of quantification during therapy. Amprenavir alone suppressed HIV-1 RNA levels to <400 copies/mL in seminal plasma in the majority of patients, the first direct demonstration of the antiretroviral effects of a protease inhibitor in the male genital tract. However, 8 men (27%) had measurable HIV-1 in seminal plasma at their last study visit, 4 with increasing levels. Persistent replication of HIV in the genital tract may have implications for the selection of resistant virus and sexual transmission of HIV-1.

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