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Background: Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is a common co-infection among HIV-infected adults that is hypothesized to accelerate HIV disease progression.Methods: We searched Medline, EMBASE, relevant conference proceedings (2006-12) and bibliographies of identified studies without language restriction for cohort studies examining the impact of HSV-2 on highly active antiretroviral therapy-untreated HIV disease in adults. The exposure of interest was HSV-2 seropositivity or clinical/laboratory markers of HSV-2 activity. The primary outcome was HIV disease progression, defined as antiretroviral initiation, development of AIDS/opportunistic infection, or progression to CD4 count thresholds (≤200 or ≤350 cells/mm3). Secondary outcomes included HIV plasma viral load and CD4 count.Results: Seven studies were included. No definitive relationship was observed between HSV-2 seropositivity and time to antiretroviral initiation (n=2 studies), CD4≤350 (n=1), CD4≤200 (n=1), death (n=1), viral load (n=6) or CD4 count (n=3). Although two studies each observed trends towards accelerated progression to clinical AIDS/opportunistic infection in HSV-2 seropositives, with pooled unadjusted hazard ratio=1.85 (95% CI=1.12,3.06; I2=2%), most OIs observed in the study for which data were available can occur at high CD4 counts and may not represent HIV progression. In contrast, a single study HSV-2 disease activity found that the presence of genital HSV-2 DNA was associated with a 0.4 log copies/mL increase in HIV viral load.Conclusions: Despite an observation that HSV-2 activity is associated with increased HIV viral load, definitive evidence linking HSV-2 seropositivity to accelerated HIV disease progression is lacking. The attenuating effects of acyclovir on HIV disease progression observed in recent trials may result both from direct anti-HIV activity as well as from indirect benefits of HSV-2 suppression. © 2013 Tan et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Tan, D. H. S., Murphy, K., Shah, P., & Walmsley, S. L. (2013). Herpes simplex virus type 2 and HIV disease progression: A systematic review of observational studies. BMC Infectious Diseases, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2334-13-502