Decrease in Seminal HIV-1 RNA Load After Praziquantel Treatment of Urogenital Schistosomiasis Coinfection in HIV-Positive Men—An Observational Study

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    Nicholas Midzi, Department of Medical Microbiology, College of Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Avondale, Harare, Zimbabwe, ZimbabweTakafira Mduluza, Department of Biochemistry, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe;, School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa, ZimbabweBoniface Mudenge, Flow Cytometry Centre, Harare, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
  • Leslie Foldager
  • Peter D. C. Leutscher, Centre of Clinical Research, Regional Hospital North Denmark, Denmark, Clinical Institute, Aalborg University, Denmark, Denmark
BACKGROUND: Urogenital schistosomiasis due to Schistosoma hematobium infection is hypothesized to cause increased HIV-1 RNA shedding in semen in HIV co-infected men as result of chronic egg-induced inflammation in the prostate and the seminal vesicles. The effect of treatment with the antihelminthic agent praziquantel on seminal HIV-1 RNA load was assessed in this study.
METHODS: HIV-1 RNA load was determined in blood plasma and semen at baseline and at 10-week follow-up. Praziquantel was administered at baseline and two weeks later.
RESULTS: Eighteen HIV-positive men with S. haematobium co-infection were enrolled into the study. Status of antiretroviral therapy (ART): 6 ART-naïve and 12 ART-experienced. All participants became egg-negative in urine at follow-up. Among the ART-naïve men, the mean HIV-1 RNA load decreased by 0.32 log10 copies per mL (4.41 vs 4.09) in blood plasma from baseline to
follow-up, and in semen by 1.06 log10 copies per mL (4.06 vs 3.00).
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated a decline in seminal HIV-1 RNA load following praziquantel treatment of urogenital schistosomiasis infection in HIV-positive men. The finding needs further exploration in a larger randomized study targeting praziquantel as a supplementary preventive measure of sexual transmission of HIV-1 in S. haematobium endemic areas in sub-Saharan Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberofx199
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2017

    Research areas

  • HIV, HIV-1 RNA, Schistosoma haematobium, praziquantel, semen, urogenital schistosomiasis

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