The study used data from 149 total clinical trial patients from three antiviral treatment studies, and included samples obtained at enrollment and six time points throughout the first eight weeks of antiretroviral therapy. Infection serostatus and viral load were used in a parametric non-linear statistical model to derive estimates of first and second phase HIV-1 viral clearance rates. The study results confirm that HSV-2 co-infection leads to an increased baseline HIV-1 load. However, HSV-2 co-infection had no impact on the first or second phase clearance rates of HIV-1 during chronic therapy. Schouten and Schiffer hypothesize that because HSV-2 co-infection does not impact the clearance of HIV-1 infected cells, there could be a higher proportion of CD4+ T-cells that are activated and thereby HIV-1 infected during HSV-2 co-infection. Because the study results indicate that HSV-2 co-infection does not impact clearance rate of actively HIV-1 infected cells, the higher average HIV-1 viral load in co-infected persons is likely due to enhanced HIV-1 production during the co-infected state. Given these results, further study into the synergistic kinetics of HSV-2 and HIV-1 co-infection is necessary to determine how HSV-2 targeted therapies might positively impact HIV-1 treatment.
Schouten JT, Schiffer JT. 2012. Equal HIV-1 Decay Kinetics in HSV-2-Infected and -Uninfected Clinical Trial Participants Treated with Antiretroviral Therapy. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. DOI: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e31824bed3f