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Int J Androl. 2010 Feb;33(1):e98-108. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2009.00973.x. Epub 2009 Jun 15.

HIV infection of the male genital tract--consequences for sexual transmission and reproduction.

Author information

1
INSERM U625, Rennes, Rennes I University, Groupe d'Etude de la Reproduction chez l'Homme et les Mammifères, IFR 140, Campus de Beaulieu, Rennes, France.

Abstract

Despite semen being the main vector of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) dissemination worldwide, the origin of the virus in this bodily fluid remains unclear. It was recently shown that several organs of the male genital tract (MGT) are infected by HIV/simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and likely to contribute to semen viral load during the primary and chronic stages of the infection. These findings are important in helping answer the following questions: (i) does the MGT constitute a viral reservoir responsible for the persistence of virus release into the semen of a subset of HIV-infected men under antiretroviral therapy, who otherwise show an undetectable blood viral load? (ii) What is the aetiology of the semen abnormalities observed in asymptomatic HIV-infected men? (iii) What is the exact nature of the interactions between the spermatozoa, their testicular progenitors and HIV, an important issue in the context of assisted reproductive techniques proposed for HIV-seropositive (HIV+) men? Answers to these questions are crucial for the design of new therapeutic strategies aimed at eradicating the virus from the genital tract of HIV+ men--thus reducing its sexual transmission--and for improving the care of serodiscordant couples wishing to have children. This review summarizes the most recent literature on HIV infection of the male genital tract, discusses the above issues in light of the latest findings and highlights future directions of research.

PMID:
19531082
PMCID:
PMC2816356
DOI:
10.1111/j.1365-2605.2009.00973.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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