HIV, Sexual Orientation, and Gut Microbiome Interactions

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Recent studies have raised interest in the possibility that dysbiosis of the gut microbiome (i.e., the communities of bacteria residing in the intestine) in HIV-infected patients could contribute to chronic immune activation, and, thus, to elevated mortality and increased risk of inflammation-related clinical diseases (e.g., stroke, cardiovascular disease, cancer, long-bone fractures, and renal dysfunction) found even in those on effective antiretroviral therapy. Yet, to date, a consistent pattern of HIV-associated dysbiosis has not been identified. What is becoming clear, however, is that status as a man who has sex with men (MSM) may profoundly impact the structure of the gut microbiota, and that this factor likely confounded many HIV-related intestinal microbiome studies. However, what factor associated with MSM status drives these gut microbiota-related changes is unclear, and what impact, if any, these changes may have on the health of MSM is unknown. In this review, we outline available data on changes in the structure of the gut microbiome in HIV, based on studies that controlled for MSM status. We then examine what is known regarding the gut microbiota in MSM, and consider possible implications for research and the health of this population. Lastly, we discuss knowledge gaps and needed future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)800-817
Number of pages18
JournalDigestive diseases and sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Gut microbiome
  • Gut microbiota
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Intestinal microbiome
  • Men who have sex with men

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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