Resource Logo

Effects of reverse transcriptase inhibitor therapy on the HIV-1 viral burden in semen.


J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol. 1997 May 1;15(1):54-60.

HIV-1 infection continues to spread worldwide, primarily through sexual intercourse. Because semen is a major vehicle for transmission of HIV-1, we evaluated the effects of reverse transcriptase inhibitor therapy on the amount of HIV-1 in semen. The semen and blood of 11 HIV-1-infected men (i.e. treatment group) were collected before the initiation of reverse transcriptase inhibitor therapy and then 8 to 18 weeks after initiation of therapy. The semen and blood of another 11 HIV-1-infected men (i.e., longitudinal group), who were not on or had no change in antiretroviral therapy for at least 2 months before study entry, were collected at approximately 2-week intervals for 10 to 26 weeks. In the treatment group, 82% of the seminal plasma HIV-1 RNA levels decreased from baseline after 8 to 18 weeks of therapy (median reduction of 1.01 log10, p = 0.01), and 100% of the blood plasma RNA levels decreased from baseline over the same period (median reduction of 0.92 log10, p = 0.003). Five of these patients were followed for at least 52 weeks and had a median seminal plasma HIV-1 RNA level of 0.66 log10 below baseline at 1 year. All subjects in the treatment group with positive cultures at baseline (50%) had negative cultures or a lower infectious units per ejaculate at the 8- to 18-week follow-up examinations. The HIV-1 RNA levels in blood and semen of the longitudinal group did not change significantly over 10 to 26 weeks. Initiation of reverse transcriptase inhibitor therapy effectively reduces shedding of HIV-1 in semen and may therefore reduce the spread of infection within populations.

*Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/DRUG THERAPY *HIV-1/DRUG EFFECTS *Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors/THERAPEUTIC USE *Semen/VIROLOGY


Information in this article was accurate in September 30, 1997. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.