Factors associated with seminal impairment in HIV-infected men under antiretroviral therapy
STUDY QUESTION How do semen parameters of HIV-infected men under antiretroviral treatment compare with WHO parameters of normal semen, and what factors are associated with any differences? SUMMARY ANSWER Semen quality in most HIV-infected patients under antiretroviral treatment exceeds WHO limits, but the number falling below them is higher than would be expected in a healthy population. Exposure to efavirenz has a significant association with dysmotility. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY Dysmotility is the most frequently described sperm alteration related to HIV infection, and it has recently been linked to treatment with non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, particularly to efavirenz. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION Prospective cohort study. Between March 2002 and December 2013, 139 HIV-infected men undergoing antiretroviral therapy were enrolled. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS Participants were male members of serodiscordant couples who attended a clinic for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Madrid and requested reproductive counselling. Sociodemographic, behavioural and clinical data were collected. CD4 + lymphocyte count, HIV viral load, serology/viral load of hepatitis B and C viruses, syphilis serology and other STIs diagnosis were performed. Semen parameters were assessed through standard sperm analysis and were compared with WHO 2010 reference values. Factors associated with impaired semen parameters were evaluated by bivariate and multivariate analysis. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE The median values of all assessed semen parameters were within a normal range, but in up to 19% of HIV-positive males, at least one parameter of semen quality was below the normal range. A significant association between treatment with efavirenz and the presence of dysmotility was detected in the multivariate analysis. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION Our results cannot demonstrate a causal relationship between exposure to efavirenz and impaired motility. We do not have a real comparison group as the WHO cohort is international and may not reflect local variations in semen characteristics. Subjects who requested reproductive counselling might not be representative of HIV-positive men in general. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS Since efavirenz is still widely used in current therapeutic regimens may be affecting fertility in seropositive men who desire procreation. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S) No external funding was used for this study. The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.
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