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The Relation of Cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr Virus Antibodies to T-Cell Subsets in Homosexually Active Men

Roger Detels, MD, MS; Barbara R. Visscher, MD, DPH; John L. Fahey, MD; Kendra Schwartz, MPH; Richard S. Greene, MPH; David L. Madden, DVM, PhD; John L. Sever, MD, PhD; Michael S. Gottlieb, MD
JAMA. 1984;251(13):1719-1722. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340370051029.
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Eighty-nine homosexual men participated in a study of sexual practices, T-cell subsets, and antibody titers to cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The prevalence of antibody to CMV was 96% and to EBV, 94%. Titers to CMV were higher in those practicing receptive anal intercourse. The CMV antibody titers were positively correlated with the T-helper/suppressor ratio, number of partners and venereal disease episodes, number of T-suppressor cells, and EBV titers. Twelve percent of the participants had a low ratio only, 18% T-suppressor augmentation, and 3% T-helper deficiency. The CMV titer and prevalence of receptive anal intercourse were higher in those with a low ratio only, T-suppressor augmentation, and T-helper deficiency. These results suggest that CMV infection is acquired through receptive anal intercourse and is associated with an increase in T-suppressor cells and, in some persons, a decrease in T-helper cells.

(JAMA 1984;251:1719-1722)


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