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Fluctuations of HIV load in semen of HIV positive patients with newly acquired sexually transmitted diseases

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 10 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:341
  1. M C Atkins, research fellowa,
  2. E M Carlin, senior registrarb,
  3. V C Emery, reader in virologya,
  4. P D Griffiths, professor of virologya,
  5. F Boag, consultant physicianb
  1. a Department of Virology, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London NW3 2QG
  2. b Department of Genitourinary Medicine, Royal Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London SW10 9TH
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Boag.
  • Accepted 24 April 1996

Most HIV infections worldwide are acquired sexually, yet most coital episodes involving an infected partner do not result in acquisition of HIV. Acquisition of HIV must depend on both the volume of secretions transferred from the infected partner (donor) and the concentration of HIV present in the secretions. However, exposure alone to such a virus inoculum is clearly insufficient to ensure transmission. The coexistence of other sexually transmitted diseases in either the recipient or donor could potentially increase the risk of transmission by causing genital ulcers or by releasing inflammatory cytokines which increase HIV replication.1

We measured the HIV load in the semen and blood of HIV infected patients presenting with acute sexually transmitted diseases to determine if viral load …

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