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Am J Epidemiol. 2011 Apr 1;173(7):837-44. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwq432. Epub 2011 Mar 3.

Lack of association of herpes simplex virus type 2 seropositivity with the progression of HIV infection in the HERS cohort.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7435, USA.

Abstract

Many studies have chronicled the "epidemiologic synergy" between human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). HIV adversely affects the natural history of HSV-2 and results in more frequent and severe HSV-2 reactivation. Few longitudinal studies, however, have examined whether HSV-2 is associated with increased HIV plasma viral loads or decreased CD4 counts. The authors estimated the effect of HSV-2 seropositivity on HIV RNA viral load and on CD4 count over time among 777 HIV-seropositive US women not receiving suppressive HSV-2 therapy in the HIV Epidemiology Research Study (1993-2000). Linear mixed models were used to assess the effect of HSV-2 on log HIV viral load and CD4 count/mm(3) prior to widespread initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy. Coinfection with HSV-2 was not associated with HIV RNA plasma viral loads during study follow-up. There was a statistically significant association between HSV-2 seropositivity and CD4 count over time, but this difference was small and counterintuitive at an increase of 8 cells/mm(3) (95% confidence interval: 2, 14) per year among HSV-2-seropositive women compared with HSV-2-seronegative women. These data do not support a clinically meaningful effect of baseline HSV-2 seropositivity on the trajectories of HIV plasma viral loads or CD4 counts.

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