Sexually Transmitted Diseases:
STD Treatment: How Can It Improve HIV Prevention in the South?
Berman, Stuart M. MD, ScM*; Cohen, Myron S. MD†
From the *Division of STD Prevention, CDC, Atlanta, Georgia; and the †Division of Infectious Disease, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Correspondence: Stuart Berman, MD, ScM, MS E02, Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30333. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background: Rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are disproportionately high in the Southern United States. A high percentage of the population is black, and STD/HIV rates are particularly high among this group. Control and treatment of STDs offers promise as an HIV prevention strategy, and nowhere more than in the South.
Objective: Identify those specific recommendations for control and treatment of STDs that available evidence indicates can reduce HIV transmission.
Study: Review of published literature.
Results: Community trials produced inconsistent results but still suggest that STD treatment can reduce HIV transmission in the United States. Treatment of symptomatic STDs among those with HIV-infection should reduce HIV infectivity. There is as yet only limited evidence that STD treatment can reduce HIV susceptibility, although promising studies addressing herpes simplex virus are under way.
Conclusions: The unacceptably large racial disparities in STD rates must be addressed, symptomatic STDs among HIV-infected individuals treated, and syphilis prevention activities continued. Detection of unrecognized HIV infections among those seeking STD services should be a priority; identification of those with STDs and acute HIV infection may provide unique HIV prevention opportunities.
THE PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a challenge for the South; in 2001, over 46% of the individuals with AIDS in the United States lived in that region.1 Similarly, rates of several reportable STDs are also highest in the South; this is true for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.2 However, to a large extent, the high regional rates reflect the fact that more blacks live in the South than elsewhere,3 and rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV are disproportionately high among that group.4 These racial disparities are quite marked: for chlamydia, reported rates and observed prevalence are 2 to 5 times greater among blacks than whites; for gonorrhea, there is at least a 10-fold difference in rates,2,5,6 with similar differences in the reported rates of syphilis2; and antibody to HSV-2 is twice as prevalent among blacks as whites.7,8 In 2003, blacks accounted for 49% of the AIDS cases diagnosed in the United States; the rate of AIDS diagnoses for blacks was almost 10 times the rate for whites and almost 3 times the rate for Hispanics.9 HIV prevalence has been estimated to be more than 1% among 18- to 59-year-old blacks.4 These data clearly highlight a need to revisit HIV and STD prevention approaches among blacks. Since rates of STDs and HIV are both disproportionately high among blacks, it is particularly relevant to consider how control and treatment of STDs can contribute to prevention of HIV, an approach that has been a very attractive concept10 and may have particular relevance for prevention among blacks and for the South. This work reviews the available data about reducing HIV transmission by treating STDs and provides prevention recommendations based on that review.
The idea that preventing and treating STDs may help prevent HIV has resulted in an impressive and convincing body of work that provides powerful arguments for the interplay between HIV and a variety of STDs.11 The relationship between STDs and HIV is complex and synergistic.11,12 STDs may facilitate HIV transmission by increasing infectiousness, susceptibility to HIV acquisition, or both. In addition, HIV may facilitate the transmission of some STDs and alter their natural history.
Three very large, very ambitious community-level randomized trials in Africa attempted to use STD treatment to prevent HIV transmission13–15; and a significant body of work in the wake of these studies has attempted to explain and understand the findings.13,16–23 There have been impressive reviews of relevant literature on this topic, as well as reports and recommendations from federal and international health agencies.10,24,25 A large number of studies have addressed this issue from many different perspectives.18,26–30 Nevertheless, it is not at this time clear just how this accumulated information should be used to improve HIV prevention, or the relevance of the data to the spread of HIV in the United States. For the purpose of identifying how such data are relevant to prevention in the United States, this paper reviews the following: results from the relevant community trials, evidence that STDs increase HIV susceptibility, evidence that STDs increase HIV infectivity, and the evidence that STD treatment reduces these effects.
A community trial in Mwanza, Tanzania,13,16 was a proof-of-concept study that demonstrated that improving access to quality care for symptomatic STDs could impressively reduce HIV incidence31; HIV incidence was initially reported to be 42% less among intervention communities than in experimental ones. However, a trial in Rakai, Uganda, provided a different outcome; this study evaluated the effect of providing mass treatment (i.e., metronidazole, azithromycin, and ciprofloxacin) every 10 months, for a total of three cycles to all residents in the intervention villages.14 However, despite providing mass treatment for STDs, HIV incidence was similar in intervention and control communities. A third community trial, in Masaka, Uganda, was a 3-armed trial in which communities were randomized to a behavioral intervention, an intervention consisting of the behavioral component combined with improved STD care (the latter to be similar to the Mwanza intervention) or to serve as control communities; no effect on HIV incidence was noticed.15
Evaluations of these studies have provided important insights. First, the contribution that STDs play as cofactor for HIV transmission may depend upon the stage of the HIV epidemic.24,32 In the early stages, when HIV prevalence is low, transmission is likely more dependent upon an HIV infected core group with multiple sex partners. STD infections in this population further increase spread of HIV. In Mwanza (initial HIV prevalence of 4.1%; HIV incidence <1 per 100 person-years) interventions that reached the core group may have led to the success observed. However, in areas where the HIV epidemic is more mature such as in Rakai (initial HIV prevalence 15.9%; incidence 1.5–2.0 per 100 person-years), HIV transmission occurred primarily among discordant couples and especially soon after infection is acquired, when viral burden is highest. The role of STDs as a cofactor in this setting may be less critical. Second, not all STDS may be equally important. The prevalence and biology of herpes simplex virus (HSV) suggest that this infection may be of great importance and that incident HSV infection greatly facilitates HIV transmission.24 In Rakai, HSV-2 seroprevalence (31.2% among men; 60.9% among women) was considerably greater than in Mwanza (12.1% among men; 35.6% among women)23; in Rakai, 45% of genital ulcer disease was caused by HSV, whereas in Mwanza, herpes was estimated to account for <10% of genital ulcer disease. Such differences could have had significant effect on outcomes, since none of the three community interventions provided treatment of viral STDs (i.e., herpes).
STDs and HIV Susceptibility
Rottingen et al.25 undertook a systematic evaluation of the role of individual STDS in spread of HIV. Only longitudinal studies were used to estimate HIV susceptibility associated with a particular STD. The results confirm that genital ulcer diseases (i.e., chancroid, syphilis, herpes or unspecified genital ulcer disease) are most strongly associated with increased risk of HIV transmission for both men and women.25 The results with nonulcerative STDs were less compelling. The authors found only 2 relevant studies that addressed HIV susceptibility associated with gonorrhea or chlamydia in men.33,34 Among women, there were 9 studies,35–43 6 of which evaluated female sex workers.
Methodologic issues plague these studies including: (a) limited usefulness of the accuracy of historical data and the sensitivity and specificity of laboratory data; (b) problems with adjusting for risk of HIV exposure (i.e., with similar routes of transmission common to STDs and HIV, residual confounding is nearly unavoidable); (c) the timing of data available, which makes it impossible to determine whether an STD and HIV were cotransmitted (i.e., allowing increases in infectivity to appear as increases in susceptibility). These issues limit the relevance of the usual calculation of attributable risk of an STD for HIV transmission, which focuses on risk for HIV acquisition, and not on effects of increased infectivity.
That genital ulcers increase susceptibility to HIV has great face validity since animal models had suggested that an intact vaginal mucosa is a barrier to infection.44 If the epithelium is intact, for transmission to occur, HIV infection must cross the epithelial barrier to gain access to appropriate target cells45; HIV infection requires fusion of the virus membrane with CD4 on the surface of the target cell and with the CCR5 receptor.46 In women, susceptible cells (e.g., dendritic cells, Langerhans cells, and macrophages) are abundant in the lamina propria.45 In men, although the penile shaft and outer surface of the penis is covered by keratinized stratified epithelium, the inner mucosal surface of foreskin is not and contains Langerhans cells47; in circumcised males, a likely target is the distal penile urethra, which is lined with mucosal epithelium, although containing few Langerhans cells.47 It would be expected that genital ulcers increase HIV susceptibility by facilitating HIV access to such target cells. This expectation is supported by a large number of observational studies25 that have found significant associations between genital ulcer disease and HIV seroconversion. However, as discussed above, such studies are open to numerous methodologic issues, some of which are addressed by discordant-couples study design. Results are available from at least 1 such study: Deschamps et al.,48 studying HIV transmission in Haiti, found history of genital ulcer in the HIV(−) partner highly associated with risk of seroconversion: relative risk (RR) = 6.82 (CI 2.95–15.7). Unfortunately, data from the discordant couples component of the Rakai trial do not address this question directly; recalculation of published data suggests that history of genital ulcer in the HIV-negative partner (regardless of history in the HIV-infected partner) was associated with crude RR = 1.8, with a small number of seroconversions.27
There are also data about the extent to which those with HSV-2 infection (which may be considered a proxy for genital ulceration, whether reported as such or not) are at increased risk of HIV acquisition. HSV-2 causes ulcers and microscopic breaks in the mucosa, which may often be unrecognized and may allow HIV access49; HSV-2 infection may also increase susceptibility to HIV by the influx of CD4+ lymphocytes,50 target cells for HIV infection. (Of note, similar findings are associated with H ducreyi infection51). Longitudinal studies—not only those involving discordant couples—of HIV(−) individuals who have HSV-2 infection are free of some of the methodologic concerns discussed; when HIV seroconversion occurs, the temporal sequence of infection is clear, as is the fact that the 2 infections (i.e., HSV and HIV) were not acquired together so that increased infectivity would not be misclassified as susceptibility. In a meta-analysis, including cohort and nested case-control studies, Wald and Link52 determined that HSV-2 infection was associated with an increased risk of HIV seroconversion, RR = 2.1 (CI 1.4–3.2). However, such results applied primarily to men: there was only 1 study among women, and that did not find an association between HSV-2 infection and HIV seroconversion.42 A recent longitudinal study, not included in the Wald meta-analysis, analyzed the data from the Mwanza trial53 and found similar results; among males, HSV-2 infection at baseline was strongly associated with HIV seroconversion, adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 6.12 (CI 2.52- 14.9); the association among women was weaker, adjusted OR = 1.31 (CI 0.62–2.80).
In retrospect, the evidence that nonulcerative STDs increase HIV susceptibility is not as convincing as for genital ulcer disease. There is biologic evidence that the nonulcerative STDs increase recruitment into the genital tract of HIV target cells—CD4+ lymphocytes, monocytes, and Langerhans cells54—and are responsible for superficial cervical ulcers.55 Although such findings provide plausible evidence that nonulcerative STDs increase susceptibility, such evidence is not as convincing as for genital ulcer disease, nor are there as yet supporting animal model data. Furthermore, a randomized clinical trial that provided monthly azithromycin to female sex workers reduced incidence of several treatable STDs but not HIV incidence.56
Similarly, as mentioned, there are methodologic limitations when the observational data addressing susceptibility are examined (i.e., temporal relationship of the diseases acquired and issues of confusing infectivity with susceptibility), even when evaluating discordant couples. Longitudinal data from Rakai27 indicate that history of discharge or dysuria was associated with a nonsignificant increase in risk of HIV seroconversion, adjusted RR = 1.41 (CI 0.89–2.23), although findings differed by sex; this risk was only among men [RR = 2.44 (CI 1.17–5.12)], not women [RR = 1.10 (CI 0.62–1.95)], among whom a report of dysuria or discharge could be caused by a wide variety of clinical entities. This discussion is mainly to highlight how challenging it is to compile truly convincing data measuring the increased susceptibility associated with STDs.
STDs and HIV infectivity
Assessing effects of STDs on infectiousness is also methodologically challenging, and only discordant partnership studies and biologic (i.e., shedding) studies should be considered, since, as Rottingen et al.25 point out, effects on infectiousness cannot be estimated from standard designs. Unfortunately, in reviewing studies of infectiousness, Rottingen et al.25 concluded that the data from these longitudinal studies were “too limited for drawing firm conclusions.”
HIV shedding occurs frequently from ulcers in both men and women (i.e., over 60% for chancroid).57–60 Furthermore, data from at least 1 study suggest that genital ulcer disease is also associated with reversible increase in HIV shedding in semen.61 These results help to interpret observational data from the Rakai study, where a history of genital ulcer disease in the HIV-infected partner among HIV-discordant couples was associated with an increased risk of transmission, RR = 2.58 (CI 1.03–5.69) per sexual act62; in Haiti, such a history was also associated, RR = 2.89 (CI 0.97–9.15), with seroconversion.48 In Pune, India, HSV status affected risk of HIV infection, and incident HSV infection conveyed enormous risk for HIV acquisition (OR = 22.6).24 Surprisingly, discordant-partner studies did not find that history of discharge or dysuria was associated with seroconversion: Haiti, RR = 0.88, when the HIV-infected partner was symptomatic and Rakai, RR = 1.18 [CI 0.54 to 2.59] when either partner was symptomatic.27,48
Although the observational data do not indicate that treating nonulcerative STDs reduces HIV transmission, other data are supportive, particularly with regard to symptomatic urethritis among men; several studies identify the extent to which treatment of symptomatic urethritis reduces HIV shedding.63,64
In terms of evaluating outcomes based on HIV shedding in the genital tract, we should note that a variety of outcomes measures have been used and that this is another area that complicates understanding; various anatomical sites may be assessed (i.e., for males, by urethral swab, or in seminal plasma) and some assessments have considered HIV RNA or HIV proviral DNA, and whether virus is cell-free or cell associated.55 (Although both cell free and cell-associated HIV can cause infection,65 the relative importance of these entities is unknown; animal data suggest that cell-associated virus is less infectious66). Although the level of genital HIV shedding in any one individual seems influenced by a variety of factors,55,67,68 the majority of studies have indicated that shedding in the genital tract, for both men and women, is positively correlated—but not invariably69—with blood plasma HIV RNA viral load.55,68–71 The Rakai data demonstrated that transmission risk is directly associated with level of plasma viral load and that no HIV transmissions occurred if HIV-1 RNA level was under 1500 copies/mL; furthermore, each log increment in the plasma viral load was associated with 2.45-fold increase in the risk of seroconversion.72 Because of the correlation between viral load in blood and semen, changes in seminal viral load have important implications for HIV infectivity. In this regard, studies have been able to demonstrate the potential benefit for HIV prevention that may result from treating STDs: among males treated for urethritis, HIV-1 concentration in semen decreased from 12.4 × 104 copies/ml to 4.12 × 104 copies/mL after 2 weeks; the decrease was greater among those treated for gonococcal urethritis and less for urethritis associated with other etiologies (i.e., chlamydial or trichomoniasis).63 Reductions in HIV shedding in the genital tract should be associated with decreased HIV transmission. In fact, a mathematical model has suggested that a 1 log reduction in seminal HIV load could be associated (depending upon other factors) with approximately a fivefold decrease in infectivity (i.e., probability of HIV transmission per sexual contact).73 Importantly, an analysis of discordant-couple data from Rakai did not find that a history of STD symptoms in the HIV-infected partner, aside from genital ulcer disease, was associated with an increased risk of transmission per sex act.62 These data address only symptomatic urethritis; the few available and relevant studies suggest that asymptomatic urethritis in men is not associated with elevation of seminal viral load.63,74
Studies have evaluated HIV shedding among women with cervicitis (gonococcal, chlamydial, or nonspecific) or with vaginal discharge diseases.55,70,75–83 Just as for men, there are multiple approaches for measuring HIV shedding in the female genital tract, i.e., use of endocervical swabs, or cervicovaginal lavage, with variations in volume and considerations of whether RNA, DNA, cell-free, or cell-associated HIV is assessed.55 Nevertheless, it seems that the results from these approaches do correlate and may be quite comparable (i.e., endocervical swab and cervicovaginal lavage).84 However, there are only 2 longitudinal studies that have evaluated the effect of treatment of STD-specific cervicitis (i.e., chlamydial or gonococcal), and these have demonstrated that treatment is associated with significant decreases in HIV shedding.85,86 These studies have included women who presented with symptoms and those whose STD was identified by screening; reduction in HIV shedding does not seem associated with symptomatology. However, the one study evaluating treatment of vaginal discharge (i.e., trichomoniasis, candidiasis, and bacterial vaginosis) involved primarily women with symptoms. Decrease in HIV shedding is associated with treatment for candidiasis and trichomoniasis; HIV shedding did not decrease after treatment for bacterial vaginosis86 (Table 1).
Despite the positive findings, there are methodologic limitations to these studies; it is clear that for many individuals genital shedding of HIV is intermittent71,87 and so evaluations should include a control group, ideally matched for stage of disease and blood viral load; depending upon the type of evaluation used, more than 1 measurement is desirable since use of cervicovaginal lavage is associated with large intrasubject variation.71
Lastly, studies have demonstrated that infectious syphilis88 and genital herpes activation89 are associated with elevations in HIV plasma viral load, which tend to decrease with STD treatment, indirect evidence that STD treatment may reduce infectivity.
HIV Shedding and STDs: Effect of Antiretroviral Therapy
It is also important to consider how antiretroviral therapy might influence recommendations related to STD treatment as an HIV prevention strategy since highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has a substantial effect by reducing HIV shedding in semen and the female genital tract.90 For example, Cu-Uvin et al.91 found that among antiretroviral-naïve women, cervicovaginal HIV shedding decreased by 0.7–2.1 logs within 1 to 14 days of starting on HAART, and Pereira et al.92 reported almost complete suppression of HIV shedding in semen more than 8 months after starting treatment with lamivudine and zidovudine. In general, if blood plasma viral load is undetectable, the viral load in semen is usually undetectable also.93 However, some individuals still shed HIV in the genital tract, despite having suppressed HIV concentrations in blood,68 suggesting that the genital tract can represent a separate compartment for HIV replication. From the few studies that evaluated the effect of STDs on genital shedding of HIV among infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy, the following observations can be made:
* For the most part, even individuals with urethritis who have nondetectable levels of HIV in blood plasma will still have undetectable levels in semen.93
* Urethritis may still play a role in increasing seminal viral load in some patients. Sadiq et al.93 describe how, with treatment of gonococcal urethritis, the seminal viral load was reduced 20-fold in a patient whose blood viral load was poorly controlled; this suggested that antiretroviral therapy may not always control the potentiating effects of urethritis on viral replication. Winter et al.94 found that urethritis was associated with HIV shedding in semen, adjusting for blood plasma load, and antiretroviral therapy, among other factors. There are few studies among women addressing viral shedding while on ART.
Implications for Prevention Activities
The community trials would suggest that the Mwanza experience may be more relevant for the United States, with its comparatively low prevalence of HIV and continuing importance of core group transmission, than Rakai or Masaka95; if control and treatment of STD does offer some promise for HIV prevention in the United States, we must consider what makes sense for this country. (The Mwanza model introduced rudimentary care into a context where appropriate STD care was nearly nonexistent.) In general, STD prevention approaches to reduce STD rates among those at risk for HIV should be strengthened, and in particular among blacks, given the marked disparities in STD/HIV rates; the issue is about specifics.
The strongest evidence supports treatment of symptomatic STDs and cervical infection among HIV-infected individuals to reduce HIV shedding and infectivity. The effectiveness of such a recommendation is dependent upon the identification of a large proportion of those who are HIV infected, consistent with the new initiative taken by CDC96 to increase the identification of HIV-infected individuals, using rapid testing, implemented in nontraditional settings, approaches recently demonstrated to be cost-effective97; effectiveness also requires strengthening prevention efforts carried out by HIV-care providers, also consistent with recent recommendations.98 However, many individuals have delayed or avoided care despite recognition of STD symptoms99 because of disappearance of the symptoms or lack of appreciation of the importance of such symptoms or cost and availability of care.99,100 Although the effectiveness of such recommendations would be more limited among those well controlled on HAART, all health care providers—and especially those caring for HIV-infected individuals—should be advising patients about the importance of obtaining prompt care when even mildly symptomatic.
HIV care providers should address these specific issues with their patients and inquire about symptoms at each visit. Such counseling and review of risk behavior is consistent with the recommendations made by IDSA/CDC.98 In this regard, clinicians should be prepared to diagnose and treat the following symptomatic conditions, which should reduce HIV shedding and infectivity:
* Urethritis among men: addressing chlamydia, gonorrhea, and regarding trichomoniasis as a possible cause74,101
* Genital ulcer disease among men and women: addressing primarily syphilis and herpes; chancroid should always be kept in mind, but its occurrence has become quite rare in the United States2
* Symptomatic vaginal discharge disease and cervicitis: since treatment of trichomoniasis, candidiasis, chlamydial and gonococcal cervicitis is associated with decreased shedding of HIV78,85,86; treatment of bacterial vaginosis has not been demonstrated to reduce HIV shedding.
* Such recommendations may be particularly important for individuals who have not yet been started on antiretroviral therapy or whose CD4 levels do not warrant antiretroviral treatment but who have detectable plasma viral load; these recommendations are also relevant for those on antiretroviral therapy who are not well controlled.
The effect on HIV shedding of treating asymptomatic infection is less well documented, and therefore the rationale for STD screening among HIV-infected individuals is not to reduce HIV infectivity. In this regard, clinicians should be aware that the CDC/IDSA Guidelines recommended the following screening guidelines for identification of asymptomatic STD among HIV-infected individuals: at initial visit, all patients should be screened for syphilis; among women, all should be tested for trichomoniasis and those ≤25 years of age, tested for C trachomatis. Subsequent screening or testing of other individuals (i.e., men) should be based on risk behavior.98 Since a high proportion of syphilis cases occurred among those with HIV-infection, screening for syphilis has been recommended by CDC/IDSA98; such screening for syphilis makes sense for syphilis control and may contribute to preventing HIV transmission.102 Similarly, asymptomatic chlamydia and gonococcal cervicitis should be identified and treated, as already recommended.95,101 In addition, the CDC STD Treatment Guidelines101 recommend that women with chlamydia infection be rescreened in 3 to 4 months.
STD treatment may help reduce HIV susceptibility, but, for the most part, either supporting evidence is limited, or, aside from efforts to control syphilis, practical and specific implementation strategies are as yet lacking. The evidence is weak that HIV susceptibility can be reduced by treating asymptomatic chlamydia or gonorrhea, the 2 common inflammatory STDs already addressed by public health programs. Nevertheless, the large racial disparities that exist for these diseases are unacceptable; addressing these problems should be a national priority, regardless of the impact on HIV transmission. Although reducing rates of cervical chlamydia and gonorrhea, especially among blacks, is already a priority and efforts to increase screening coverage are being developed,103 clearly more needs to be done; recommendations to improve prevention of gonorrhea have recently been addressed.104 Unfortunately, since the health care system in the South already faces challenges in terms of capacity,105 the need to strengthen STD prevention services there constitutes both an imperative and a challenge.
The evidence is stronger that preventing ulcerative STDs can decrease HIV susceptibility, and here there is some good news: programmatic efforts in the South to address syphilis, an ulcerative STD, have had some success, since the rate of syphilis has decreased in the South while increasing in all other regions.106 However, given the increases in syphilis that have occurred among gay and bisexual males, it is important that such prevention efforts targeting minority populations in the South be continued.107
However, the STD-HIV relationship that may be most relevant for HIV prevention among blacks, and thus for the South, may involve HSV-2. As discussed, the evidence that HSV-2 increases susceptibility to HIV is particularly compelling and probably relevant for the South. Wald and Link52 have estimated that 35% of HIV infection among blacks could be attributed to HSV. In fact, a recent evaluation among black women found that one of the strongest risk factors for new HIV infection was a history of genital herpes.108 Based on such observational data, several large randomized trials are being implemented, evaluating if HSV-2 suppressive treatment (i.e., acyclovir) of HIV-uninfected individuals who are HSV-2 seropositive can decrease their HIV acquisition. Results from such studies can inform future recommendations that are relevant for the South and elsewhere. Nevertheless, it would seem prudent for clinicians to advise individuals diagnosed with genital herpes that they are at increased risk for HIV acquisition and to encourage HIV testing if status is uncertain and to emphasize established HIV strategies (i.e., abstinence, mutual monogamy, condoms, etc.).
Lastly, an STD diagnosis may offer the potential for HIV prevention by helping to identify individuals who are particularly infectious for HIV, those with a symptomatic STD and recently acquired HIV. Clearly, HIV testing should be offered to individuals with symptomatic STDs.101,109 More generally, in light of the prevalence of unrecognized HIV infection among STD clinic attendees,109 point of care testing for HIV in those settings should be a priority.110 In addition, recent studies have demonstrated that individuals with acute HIV may present with symptomatic STDs and that lymphadenopathy may be a important clinical clue of early infection111; such individuals may be particularly contagious because of the elevated plasma viral load associated with primary HIV,112 although routine HIV testing may be negative. In a recent study of 109,500 subjects in North Carolina, the majority of patients with previously unrecognized early HIV (acute or recent) were detected in public STD clinics.113
In summary, control and treatment of STDs can definitely contribute to HIV prevention. Treatment of symptomatic STDs among those with HIV infection is clearly warranted, syphilis prevention activities targeting minorities in the South must be maintained, and the racial disparities in some STDs must be addressed. Improved and increased HIV testing in patients with STDs has the potential to identify many people with unrecognized HIV infection, including those with acute HIV infection who are most contagious.
1.HIV poses challenges for Southern states. Most people with AIDS in South are minorities. AIDS Alert. 2003; 18:17–18.
2.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2003
. Atlanta, GA: US Dept of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2004.
3.St Louis ME, Farley TA, Aral SO. Untangling the persistence of syphilis in the South. Sex Transm Dis 1996; 23:1–4.
4.Smith DK, Gwinn M, Selik RM, et al. HIV/AIDS among African Americans: progress or progression? AIDS 2000; 14:1237–1248.
5.Datta SB, Sternberg M, Johnson RE, et al. Prevalence of chlamydia and gonorrhea in the United States among persons aged 14–39 years, 1999–2000. 15th
Biennial Congress of the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research, Ottawa, Canada. July 27–30, 2003.
6.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Racial disparities in nationally notifiable diseases-United States, 2002. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2005; 54:9–11.
7.Fleming DT, McQuillan GM, Johnson RE, et al. Herpes simplex virus type 2 in the United States, 1976 to 1994. N Engl J Med 1997; 337:1105–1111.
8.Johnson RE, Nahmias AJ, Magder LS, et al. A seroepidemiologic survey of the prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 2 infection in the United States. N Engl J Med 1989; 321:7–12.
9.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2003
. Atlanta, GA: US Dept of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2004:1–46.
10.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV prevention through early detection and treatment of other sexually transmitted diseases-United States. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1998; 47(RR-12):1–24.
11.Wasserheit JN. Epidemiological synergy: interrelationships between human immunodeficiency virus infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. Sex Trans Dis 1992; 19:61–77.
12.Fleming DT, Wasserheit JN. From epidemiological synergy to public health policy and practice: the contribution of other sexually transmitted diseases to sexual transmission of HIV infection. Sex Transm Infect 1999; 75:3–17.
13.Grosskurth H, Mosha F, Todd J, et al. Impact of improved treatment of sexually transmitted diseases on HIV infection in rural Tanzania: randomised controlled trial. Lancet 1995; 346:530–536.
14.Wawer MJ, Sewankambo NK, Serwadda D, et al. Control of sexually transmitted diseases for AIDS prevention in Uganda: a randomised community trial: Rakai Project Study Group. Lancet 1999; 353:525–535.
15.Kamali A, Quigley M, Nakiyingi J, et al. Syndromic management of sexually-transmitted infections and behaviour change interventions on transmission of HIV-1 in rural Uganda: a community randomised trial. Lancet 2003; 361:645–652.
16.Laga M. STD control for HIV prevention: it works! Lancet 1995; 346:518–519.
17.Changalucha J, Gavyole A, Grosskurth H, et al. STD/HIV intervention and research programme Mwanza Region, NW Tanzania. Sex Transm Infect 2002; 78(suppl 1):i91–i96.
18.Orroth KK, Gavyole A, Todd J, et al. Syndromic treatment of sexually transmitted diseases reduces the proportion of incident HIV infections attributable to these diseases in rural Tanzania. AIDS 2000; 14:1429–1437.
19.Grosskurth H. From Mwanza and Rakai to Beijing and Moscow? STD control and HIV prevention. Sex Transm Infect 1999; 75:83–85.
20.Korenromp EL, Van Vliet C, Grosskurth H, et al. Model-based evaluation of single-round mass treatment of sexually transmitted diseases for HIV control in a rural African population. AIDS 2000; 14:573–593.
21.Orroth KK, Korenromp EL, White RG, et al. Comparison of STD prevalences in the Mwanza, Rakai, and Masaka trial populations: the role of selection bias and diagnostic errors. Sex Transm Infect 2003; 79:98–105.
22.Hayes RJ, Schulz KF, Plummer FA. The cofactor effect of genital ulcers on the per-exposure risk of HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. J Trop Med Hyg 1995; 98:1–8.
23.Nicoll A, Johnson AM, Adler MW, et al. Preventing HIV-1: lessons from Mwanza and Rakai. Lancet 1999; 353:1522–1524.
24.World Health Organization. Consultation on STD interventions for preventing HIV: what is the evidence? UNAIDS/00.06E, WHO/HIS/2000.02; 2000.
25.Rottingen JA, Cameron DW, Garnett GP. A systematic review of the epidemiologic interactions between classic sexually transmitted diseases and HIV: how much really is known? Sex Transm Dis 2001; 28:579–597.
26.Robinson NJ, Mulder DW, Auvert B, et al. Proportion of HIV infections attributable to other sexually transmitted diseases in a rural Ugandan population: simulation model estimates. Int J Epidemiol 1997; 26:180–189.
27.Gray RH, Wawer MJ, Sewankambo NK, et al. Relative risks and population attributable fraction of incident HIV associated with symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases and treatable symptomatic sexually transmitted diseases in Rakai District, Uganda: Rakai Project Team. AIDS 1999; 13:2113–2123.
28.Gray RH, Kiwanuka N, Quinn TC, et al. Male circumcision and HIV acquisition and transmission: cohort studies in Rakai, Uganda: Rakai Project Team. AIDS 2000; 14:2371–2381.
29.Lamptey PR. Reducing heterosexual transmission of HIV in poor countries. BMJ 2002; 324:207–211.
30.Hudson CP. Community-based trials of sexually transmitted disease treatment: repercussions for epidemiology and HIV prevention. Bull World Health Organ 2001; 79:48–58.
31.Hitchcock P, Fransen L. Preventing HIV infection: lessons from Mwanza and Rakai. Lancet 1999; 353:513–515.
32.Grosskurth H, Gray R, Hayes R, et al. Control of sexually transmitted diseases for HIV-1 prevention: understanding the implications of the Mwanza and Rakai trials. Lancet 2000; 355:1981–1987.
33.Celentano DD, Nelson KE, Suprasert S, et al. Risk factors for HIV-1 seroconversion among young men in northern Thailand. JAMA 1996; 275:122–127.
34.Rakwar J, Lavreys L, Thompson ML, et al. Cofactors for the acquisition of HIV-1 among heterosexual men: prospective cohort study of trucking company workers in Kenya. AIDS 1999; 13:607–614.
35.Dominguez K, Ellerbrock TV, Harrington PE, et al. Risk factors for HIV seroconversion among young women in a rural community in the Southeastern United States. IX International Conference on AIDS, Vancouver, Canada, July 7–12, 1996.
36.Plummer FA, Simonsen JN, Cameron DW, et al. Cofactors in male-female sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1. J Infect Dis 1991; 163:233–239.
37.Laga M, Manoka A, Kivuvu M, et al. Non-ulcerative sexually transmitted diseases as risk factors for HIV-1 transmission in women: results from a cohort study. AIDS 1993; 7:95–102.
38.Laga M, Alary M, Nzila N, et al. Condom promotion, sexually transmitted diseases treatment, and declining incidence of HIV-1 infection in female Zairian sex workers. Lancet 1994; 344:246–248.
39.Weir SS, Feldblum PJ, Roddy RE, et al. Gonorrhea as a risk factor for HIV acquisition. AIDS 1994; 8:1605–1608.
40.Kapiga SH, Lyamuya EF, Lwihula GK, et al. The incidence of HIV infection among women using family planning methods in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. AIDS 1998; 12:75–84.
41.Taha TE, Hoover DR, Dallabetta GA, et al. Bacterial vaginosis and disturbances of vaginal flora: association with increased acquisition of HIV. AIDS 1998; 12:1699–1706.
42.Kilmarx PH, Limpakarnjanarat K, Mastro TD, et al. HIV-1 seroconversion in a prospective study of female sex workers in northern Thailand: continued high incidence among brothel-based women. AIDS 1998; 12:1889–1898.
43.Martin HL Jr, Nyange PM, Richardson BA, et al. Hormonal contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, and risk of heterosexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1. J Infect Dis 1998; 178:1053–1059.
44.Miller CJ, Alexander NJ, Sutjipto S, et al. Genital mucosal transmission of simian immunodeficiency virus: animal model for heterosexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus. J Virol 1989; 63:4277–4284.
45.Miller CJ, Shattock RJ. Target cells in vaginal HIV transmission. Microbes Infect 2003; 5:59–67.
46.Zaitseva M, Blauvelt A, Lee S, et al. Expression and function of CCR5 and CXCR4 on human Langerhans cells and macrophages: implications for HIV primary infection. Nat Med 1997; 3:1369–1375.
47.Szabo R, Short RV. How does male circumcision protect against HIV infection? BMJ 2000; 320:1592–1594.
48.Deschamps MM, Pape JW, Hafner A, et al. Heterosexual transmission of HIV in Haiti. Ann Intern Med 1996; 125:324–330.
49.Kiviat NB, Paavonen JA, Wolner-Hanssen P, et al. Histopathology of endocervical infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis
, herpes simplex virus, Trichomonas vaginalis
, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae
. Hum Pathol 1990; 21:831–837.
50.Cunningham AL, Turner RR, Miller AC, et al. Evolution of recurrent herpes simplex lesions: an immunohistologic study. J Clin Invest 1985; 75:226–233.
51.Spinola SM, Orazi A, Arno JN, et al. Haemophilus ducreyi
elicits a cutaneous infiltrate of CD4 cells during experimental human infection. J Infect Dis 1996; 173:394–402.
52.Wald A, Link K. Risk of human immunodeficiency virus infection in herpes simplex virus type 2-seropositive persons: a meta-analysis. J Infect Dis 2002; 185:45–52.
53.Rodriguez MMP, Obasi A, et al. Herpes simplex virus type 2 infection increases HIV incidence: a prospective study in rural Tanzania. AIDS 2002; 16:451–462.
54.Levine WC, Pope V, Bhoomkar A, et al. Increase in endocervical CD4 lymphocytes among women with nonulcerative sexually transmitted diseases. J Infect Dis 1998; 177:167–174.
55.Coombs RW, Reichelderfer PS, Landay AL. Recent observations on HIV type-1 infection in the genital tract of men and women. AIDS 2003; 17:455–480.
56.Kaul R, Kimani J, Nagelkerke NJ, et al. Monthly antibiotic chemoprophylaxis and incidence of sexually transmitted infections and HIV-1 infection in Kenyan sex workers: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2004; 291:2555–2562.
57.Schacker T, Ryncarz AJ, Goddard J, et al. Frequent recovery of HIV-1 from genital herpes simplex virus lesions in HIV-1-infected men. JAMA 1998; 280:61–66.
58.Gadkari DA, Quinn TC, Gangakhedkar RR, et al. HIV-1 DNA shedding in genital ulcers and its associated risk factors in Pune, India. J Acquir Immun Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol 1998; 18:277–281.
59.Plummer FA, Wainberg MA, Plourde P, et al. Detection of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in genital ulcer exudate of HIV-1-infected men by culture and gene amplification. J Infect Dis 1990; 161:810–811.
60.Kreiss JK, Coombs R, Plummer F, et al. Isolation of human immunodeficiency virus from genital ulcers in Nairobi prostitutes. J Infect Dis 1989; 160:380–384.
61.Dyer JR, Eron JJ, Hoffman IF, et al. Association of CD4 cell depletion and elevated blood and seminal plasma human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) RNA concentrations with genital ulcer disease in HIV-1-infected men in Malawi. J Infect Dis 1998; 177:224–227.
62.Gray RH, Wawer MJ, Brookmeyer R, et al. Probability of HIV-1 transmission per coital act in monogamous, heterosexual, HIV-1-discordant couples in Rakai, Uganda. Lancet 2001; 357:1149–1153.
63.Cohen MS, Hoffman IF, Royce RA, et al. Reduction of concentration of HIV-1 in semen after treatment of urethritis: implications for prevention of sexual transmission of HIV-1: AIDSCAP Malawi Research Group. Lancet 1997; 349:1868–1873.
64.Eron JJ Jr, Gilliam B, Fiscus S, et al. HIV-1 shedding and chlamydial urethritis. JAMA 1996; 275:36.
65.Zhu T, Wang N, Carr A, et al. Genetic characterization of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in blood and genital secretions: evidence for viral compartmentalization and selection during sexual transmission. J Virol 1996; 70:3098–3107.
66.Sodora DL, Gettie A, Miller CJ, et al. Vaginal transmission of SIV: assessing infectivity and hormonal influences in macaques inoculated with cell-free and cell-associated viral stocks. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 1998; 14(suppl 1):S119–S123.
67.Speck CE, Coombs RW, Koutsky LA, et al. Risk factors for HIV-1 shedding in semen. Am J Epidemiol 1999; 150:622–631.
68.Kovacs A, Wasserman SS, Burns D, et al. Determinants of HIV-1 shedding in the genital tract of women. Lancet 2001; 358:1593–1601.
69.Vernazza PL, Gilliam BL, Dyer J, et al. Quantification of HIV in semen: correlation with antiviral treatment and immune status. AIDS 1997; 11:987–993.
70.Seck K, Samb N, Tempesta S, et al. Prevalence and risk factors of cervicovaginal HIV shedding among HIV-1 and HIV-2 infected women in Dakar, Senegal. Sex Transm Infect 2001; 77:190–193.
71.Coombs RW, Wright DJ, Reichelderfer PS, et al. Variation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 viral RNA levels in the female genital tract: implications for applying measurements to individual women. J Infect Dis 2001; 184:1187–1191.
72.Quinn TC, Wawer MJ, Sewankambo N, et al. Viral load and heterosexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1: Rakai Project Study Group. N Engl J Med 2000; 342:921–929.
73.Chakraborty H, Sen PK, Helms RW, et al. Viral burden in genital secretions determines male-to-female sexual transmission of HIV-1: a probabilistic empiric model. AIDS 2001; 15:621–627.
74.Price MA, Zimba D, Hoffman IF, et al. Addition of treatment for trichomoniasis to syndromic management of urethritis in Malawi: a randomized clinical trial. Sex Transm Dis 2003; 30:516–522.
75.Kovacs A, Wasserman SS, Burns D, et al. Determinants of HIV-1 shedding in the genital tract of women. Lancet 2001; 358:1593–1601.
76.Clemetson DB, Moss GB, Willerford DM, et al. Detection of HIV DNA in cervical and vaginal secretions: prevalence and correlates among women in Nairobi, Kenya. JAMA 1993; 269:2860–2864.
77.Rasheed S. Infectivity and dynamics of HIV type 1 replication in the blood and reproductive tract of HIV type 1-infected women. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1998; 14(suppl 1):S105–S118.
78.Ghys PD, Fransen K, Diallo MO, et al. The associations between cervicovaginal HIV shedding, sexually transmitted diseases and immunosuppression in female sex workers in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. AIDS 1997; 11:F85–F93.
79.Mostad SB, Kreiss JK. Shedding of HIV-1 in the genital tract. AIDS 1996; 10:1305–1315.
80.Kreiss J, Willerford DM, Hensel M, et al. Association between cervical inflammation and cervical shedding of human immunodeficiency virus DNA. J Infect Dis 1994; 170:1597–1601.
81.Wright TC Jr, Subbarao S, Ellerbrock TV, et al. Human immunodeficiency virus 1 expression in the female genital tract in association with cervical inflammation and ulceration. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2001; 184:279–285.
82.Overbaugh J, Kreiss J, Poss M, et al. Studies of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 mucosal viral shedding and transmission in Kenya. J Infect Dis 1999; 179(suppl 3):S401–S404.
83.Fiore JR, Lepera A, Di Stefano M, et al. Frequent cervicovaginal shedding of HIV-1 in asymptomatic, non-severely immunodeficient women. AIDS 1999; 13:626–627.
84.Asin SN, Wildt-Perinic D, Mason SI, et al. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection of human uterine epithelial cells: viral shedding and cell contact-mediated infectivity. J Infect Dis 2003; 187:1522–1533.
85.McClelland RS, Wang CC, Mandaliya K, et al. Treatment of cervicitis is associated with decreased cervical shedding of HIV-1. AIDS 2001; 15:105–110.
86.Wang CC, McClelland RS, Reilly M, et al. The effect of treatment of vaginal infections on shedding of human immunodeficiency virus type 1. J Infect Dis 2001; 183:1017–1022.
87.Gupta P, Leroux C, Patterson BK, et al. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 shedding pattern in semen correlates with the compartmentalization of viral Quasi species between blood and semen. J Infect Dis 2000; 182:79–87.
88.Buchacz K, Patel P, Taylor M, et al. Syphilis increases HIV viral load and decreases CD4 cell counts in HIV-infected patients with new syphilis infections. AIDS 2004; 18:2075–2079.
89.Schacker T, Zeh J, Hu H, et al. Changes in plasma human immunodeficiency virus type 1 RNA associated with herpes simplex virus reactivation and suppression. J Infect Dis 2002; 186:1718–1725.
90.Cohen MS, Hosseinipour M, Kashuba A, et al. Use of antiretroviral drugs to prevent sexual transmission of HIV. Curr Clin Top Infect Dis 2002; 22:214–251.
91.Cu-Uvin S, Caliendo AM, Reinert S, et al. Effect of highly active antiretroviral therapy on cervicovaginal HIV-1 RNA. AIDS 2000; 14:415–421.
92.Pereira AS, Kashuba AD, Fiscus SA, et al. Nucleoside analogues achieve high concentrations in seminal plasma: relationship between drug concentration and virus burden. J Infect Dis 1999; 180:2039–2043.
93.Sadiq ST, Taylor S, Kaye S, et al. The effects of antiretroviral therapy on HIV-1 RNA loads in seminal plasma in HIV-positive patients with and without urethritis. AIDS 2002; 16:219–225.
94.Winter AJ, Taylor S, Workman J, et al. Asymptomatic urethritis and detection of HIV-1 RNA in seminal plasma. Sex Transm Infect 1999; 75:261–263.
95.Karon JM, Fleming PL, Steketee RW, et al. HIV in the United States at the turn of the century: an epidemic in transition. Am J Public Health 2001; 91:1060–1068.
96.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Advancing HIV prevention: new strategies for a changing epidemic-United States, 2003. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2003; 52:329–332.
97.Sanders GD, Bayoumi AM, Sundaram V, et al. Cost-effectiveness of screening for HIV in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy. N Engl J Med 2005; 352:570–585.
98.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Incorporating HIV prevention into the medical care of persons living with HIV: recommendations of CDC, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2003; 52:1–24.
99.Farley TA, Cohen DA, Elkins W. Asymptomatic sexually transmitted diseases: the case for screening. Prev Med 2003; 36:502–509.
100.Fortenberry JD. Health care seeking behaviors related to sexually transmitted diseases among adolescents. Am J Public Health 1997; 87:417–420.
101.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines 2002. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2002; 51:1–78.
102.Chesson HW, Pinkerton SD, Irwin KL, et al. New HIV cases attributable to syphilis in the USA: estimates from a simplified transmission model. AIDS 1999; 13:1387–1396.
103.Shafer MA, Tebb KP, Pantell RH, et al. Effect of a clinical practice improvement intervention on chlamydial screening among adolescent girls. JAMA 2002; 288:2846–2852.
104.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Control of Neisseria gonorrhoeae
infection in the United States: report of and external consultants' meeting, October 10–11, 2001. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/GCmtgreport.pdf
. Accessed February 21, 2005.
105.Gibson JJ, Leverette W, Arvelo M. Providers of syphilis care in the southern United States. Sex Transm Dis 1996; 23:40–44.
106.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Primary and secondary syphilis: United States, 2000–2001. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2002; 51:971–973.
107.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Primary and secondary syphilis: United States, 2002. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2003; 52:1117–1120.
108.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV transmission among black women: North Carolina, 2004. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2005; 54:89–94.
109.Weinstock H, Dale M, Linley L, et al. Unrecognized HIV infection among patients attending sexually transmitted disease clinics. Am J Public Health 2002; 92:280–283.
110.Kendrick SR, Kroc KA, Withum D, et al. Outcomes of offering rapid point-of-care HIV testing in a sexually transmitted disease clinic. J Acquir Immun Defic Syndr 2005; 38:142–146.
111.Pilcher CD, Price MA, Hoffman IF, et al. Frequent detection of acute primary HIV infection in men in Malawi: reconsideration of counseling and testing approaches. 10th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, Boston, February 2003. Abstract 154.
112.Daar ES, Moudgil T, Meyer RD, et al. Transient high levels of viremia in patients with primary human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection. N Engl J Med 1991; 324:961–964.
113.Pilcher CD, Fiscus SA, Trang Q, et al. Detection of acute infections during HIV testing in North Carolina in the general HIV testing population. N Engl J Med 2005; 352:1873–1883.
114.Moss GB, Overbaugh J, Welch M, et al. Human immunodeficiency virus DNA in urethral secretions in men: association with gonococcal urethritis and CD4 cell depletion. J Infect Dis 1995; 172:1469–1474.
This article has been cited 4 time(s).
Antimicrobial Agents and ChemotherapyEvaluation of WLBU2 Peptide and 3-O-Octyl-sn-Glycerol Lipid as Active Ingredients for a Topical Microbicide Formulation Targeting Chlamydia trachomatisAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
American Journal of Public HealthStructural and Social Contexts of HIV Risk Among African AmericansAmerican Journal of Public Health
Not so benign: the clinical manifestations, diagnosis and treatment of trichomoniasis in men
Asian Biomedicine, 2(2):
© Copyright 2006 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association