The effects of herpesviruses infection on the progression of HIV disease remain controversial, with some studies showing accelerated progression and others showing no effect. Furthermore, the effect of concurrent infection with more than one herpesvirus on the progression of HIV disease has never been investigated. To this end, the rates of progression of HIV disease were determined after stratifying for the presence of up to five different herpesvirus infections. The study population consisted of 359 HIV-infected persons for whom the date of seroconversion was estimated (part of the Italian Seroconversion Study). One serum sample from each participant was tested for antibodies to five herpesviruses: HSV-2, CMV, HHV-6, HHV-7, and HHV-8. Univariate analysis showed that HSV-2 and HHV-8 were significantly associated with progression to AIDS, yet when adjusting for age at HIV seroconversion and for the presence of the other herpesvirus infections, only HHV-8 infection showed a significant association. The age-adjusted risk of progression to AIDS with Kaposi's sarcoma increased with the number of herpesvirus infections and was significant in individuals with four infections. The risk of progression to AIDS without Kaposi's sarcoma also increased with the number of infections, although not significantly. Similar results were found when considering CD4+ cell count 6 cells/L as the endpoint. Concurrent infection with more than one herpesvirus does not appear to have a significant effect on the course of HIV disease, except for the known association between HHV-8 and Kaposi's sarcoma. However, even after excluding Kaposi's sarcoma from the AIDS-defining endpoints, a slightly increased risk for participants with four herpesvirus infections remained.
- Cohort study
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