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Clin Infect Dis. 1995 Aug;21 Suppl 1:S114-20.

Herpesvirus infections in persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus.

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  • 1Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


Herpesviruses are among the most common causes of infections of humans. Viruses in this family share the unique biological property of being able to establish latency and to recur. Furthermore, chronic excretion of virus is not uncommon. In the immunocompromised host, including persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, herpesvirus disease can be particularly severe, resulting in chronic, persistent, active infection and, in some cases, life-threatening disease. The most pathogenic of the herpesviruses in patients with AIDS include herpes simplex viruses, human cytomegalovirus, and varicella-zoster virus. Disease caused by Epstein-Barr virus, particularly opportunistic malignancies, has been recognized. A new herpesvirus that is associated with Kaposi's sarcoma was recently described. On the other hand, disease caused by human herpesviruses 6 and 7 in persons infected with HIV remains to be unequivocally recognized. Prevention of exposure to herpesviruses, disease, and recurrence requires different measures than those for some of the other opportunistic infections in HIV-infected patients; this is because herpesvirus disease develops in most of these individuals as a result of reactivation rather than primary infection. Thus, approaches to the prevention and control of herpesvirus infections must be individualized according to both the type of virus as well as the type of infection (i.e., primary or recurrent). We discuss recommended measures for the prevention and control of these infections.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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