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Clin Infect Dis. 2013 Nov;57(9):1331-8. doi: 10.1093/cid/cit539. Epub 2013 Aug 14.

A randomized controlled pilot trial of valacyclovir for attenuating inflammation and immune activation in HIV/herpes simplex virus 2-coinfected adults on suppressive antiretroviral therapy.

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Department of Medicine, University of Toronto.



Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is associated with increased systemic inflammation and immune activation that persist despite suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART). Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is a common coinfection that may contribute to this inflammation.


Sixty HIV type 1 (HIV-1)/HSV-2-coinfected adults on suppressive ART were randomized 1:1:1 to 12 weeks of placebo, low-dose valacyclovir (500 mg twice daily), or high-dose valacyclovir (1 g twice daily) in this 18-week trial. Co-primary outcome measures were the percentage of activated (CD38(+)HLA-DR(+)) CD8 T cells in blood, and highly sensitive C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 in plasma. Secondary outcomes included additional immune, inflammatory cytokine, and endothelial activation markers. The impact of valacyclovir (both groups combined) on each outcome was estimated using treatment × time interaction terms in generalized estimating equation regression models.


Participants were mostly white (75%) men who have sex with men (80%). Median age was 51 (interquartile range [IQR], 47-56) years, median duration of HIV infection was 15 (IQR, 8-21) years, median CD4 count at enrollment was 520 (IQR, 392-719) cells/µL, and median nadir CD4 count was 142 (IQR, 42-240) cells/µL. Valacyclovir was not associated with significant changes in any primary or secondary immunological outcomes in bivariate or multivariable models. Medication adherence was 97% by self-report, 96% by pill count, and 84% by urine monitoring. Eight patients had adverse events deemed possibly related to the study drug (5 placebo, 1 low-dose, 2 high-dose), and 6 patients reported at least 1 HSV outbreak (3 placebo, 3 low-dose, 0 high-dose).


Valacyclovir did not decrease systemic immune activation or inflammatory biomarkers in HIV-1/HSV-2-coinfected adults on suppressive ART.




herpes simplex virus type 2; human immunodeficiency virus; immune activation; randomized controlled trial; valacyclovir

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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