Cytomegalovirus and human immunodeficiency virus in semen of homosexual men

Cytomegalovirus in semen of HIV-infected men is not accurately predicted by serology, the presence of HIV, leukocytospermia, or age, and correlates with CD4+ lymphocyte blood counts <700/mL.


Joshua Lupton, B.S., Jack Vernamonti, B.A., Clinton McCabe, B.S., Jacob Noble, B.S., Hui-Zhong Yin, M.D., Robert C. Eyre, M.D., Ann Kiessling, B.S.N., B.S., M.S., Ph.D.

Volume 101, Issue 2, Pages 350-358, February 2014



To assess the accuracy of serology to predict the presence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in semen of homosexual men without and with HIV coinfection.


Semen CMV was detected by electron microscopy and by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification; paired serum was tested for CMV IgG/IgM. Semen HIV was detected by reverse transcription–PCR.


Licensed clinical and research laboratory.


Sixty-eight men.



Main Outcome Measure(s):

Frequency of CMV and HIV in semen.


Cytomegalovirus was detected by electron microscopy in 3 of 10 specimens examined. Forty-six (89%) of 52 HIV-infected men were seropositive for CMV by combined assay for IgG/IgM; two more (48 of 52, 92%) were seropositive for CMV IgG by separate assay; 25 (48%) of the HIV-infected men had PCR-detectable CMV DNA in at least one semen specimen, 22 of whom (42%) had CMV in all specimens. Nineteen (13%) of the 150 specimens tested positive for HIV, whereas 67 (45%) tested positive for CMV; seven specimens tested positive for both CMV and HIV. Cytomegalovirus, but not HIV, detection in semen correlated with decreased CD4+ lymphocytes in peripheral blood (<700/μL) but was not accurately predicted by serology, leukocytospermia, or age. Conclusion(s):

Cytomegalovirus in semen is not accurately predicted by serology. Sperm banking needs to include direct assessment of CMV in semen specimens. Strategies to eliminate CMV from semen specimens are needed to alleviate the risk of virus transmission.

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