May 03, 2013
1 min read

High CMV levels associated with HIV shedding

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High levels of cytomegalovirus detected in semen seemed to be the main predictor of HIV shedding, according to study results published online.

Sara Gianella, MD, of the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues reported data on 114 men who have sex with men who were chronically infected with HIV-1 and were assigned antiretroviral therapy. The researchers measured levels of HIV and herpes virus using polymerase chain reaction, and they broke out a subset of 100 study participants whose HIV blood plasma levels were less than 50 copies/mL.

Sara Gianella Weibel, MD 

Sara Gianella

Detectable levels of seminal HIV were found in participants with plasma HIV between 50 copies/mL and 500 copies/mL vs. those with less than 50 copies/mL, the researchers wrote in a recent issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

They also reported that high levels of seminal cytomegalovirus (CMV) were associated with detectable seminal levels of HIV-1.

CMV presence may play a role, the researchers said, “in HIV transmission not only in ART-naive subjects as previously described but also in individuals on ART. These finding have important implications for the development of strategies to reduce HIV transmission.”

Sara Gianella, MD, can be reached at

Disclosure: Gianella reports no relevant financial disclosures.