Increasing evidence demonstrates a substantial link between the epidemics of sexually transmitted HIV-1 and herpes simplex virus (HSV)-2 infection. More than 30 epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that prevalent HSV-2 is associated with a 2- to 4-fold increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition. Per-sexual contact transmission rates among couples from Rakai, Uganda indicate that at all levels of plasma HIV-1 RNA in the source partner, HSV-2-seropositive HIV-1-susceptible persons have a 5-fold greater risk of acquiring HIV-1 compared with HSV-2-negative persons. In vitro and in vivo studies suggest that mucosal HIV-1 shedding is more frequent and in greater amounts during mucocutaneous HSV-2 replication, including subclinical mucosal reactivations. Most HIV-1-infected persons are coinfected with HSV-2, and most experience frequent subclinical and clinical reactivations of HSV-2. Subclinical HSV reactivation elevates serum HIV-1 RNA levels, and daily therapy with acyclovir appears to reduce plasma HIV-1 RNA. These data show that greater attention to the diagnosis and treatment of HSV-2 among HIV-1-infected persons is warranted, especially those who continue to be sexually active, those not on antiretroviral therapy, or those whose disease is not well suppressed by antiretrovirals.
- Genital herpes
- HIV acquisition and transmission
- Herpes simplex virus infections
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases
- Pharmacology (medical)