HIV-infection and modern antiretroviral therapy impair sperm quality
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- Kehl, S., Weigel, M., Müller, D. et al. Arch Gynecol Obstet (2011) 284: 229. doi:10.1007/s00404-011-1898-6
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Serodiscordant couples with a human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected man request assisted reproductive technology (ART) in order to achieve safe conception. Most of these men are on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). HIV-1 infection and the antiretroviral drugs are blamed for semen alterations. The aim of our study was to investigate the semen parameters in HIV-1-infected patients with and without HAART and to compare their sperm characteristics with those of healthy men.
Materials and methods
A prospective study of 226 men attended the university fertility center of Mannheim between May 1996 and July 2003. The patients were divided into three groups: HIV-infected men taking antiretroviral therapy, HIV-infected patients who did not take antiretroviral therapy until now and a control group with 93 men consulting our fertility center together with their wives because of tubal sterility. Semen samples were examined with regard to ejaculate volume, sperm concentration, motility, and morphology.
The study showed significant differences between the ejaculate of HIV-infected and non-infected men. The HIV-infected men as a whole group and the subgroup of men with HAART had a lower ejaculate volume, less slow progressive and more abnormally shaped spermatozoa compared with the control group. The HIV-infected men without an antiretroviral therapy had a significant lower ejaculate volume compared with the control group; the other parameters were not altered significantly. Differences between the subgroups with and without HAART were not significant.
The spermiogram in HIV-1-infected men in comparison to a control group of healthy men is negatively altered. Especially in men with HAART, ejaculate volume as well as sperm morphology and motility changed significantly.