Studies Examine Prostate Concerns
BY Bob Adams
October 01 2004 12:00 AM ET
Two studies examining the effect of HIV disease on the prostate show that the gland can serve as a long-term viral reservoir, even in men with an undetectable blood-based viral load. The studies also suggest that prostate cancer risks could be higher in HIV-positive men.
Researchers from San Diego have determined that HIV levels are significantly boosted in semen when the prostate is stimulated, including making the virus observable in semen that had no detectable virus prior to prostate stimulation. They concluded that the gland serves as a viral reservoir, possibly by shielding virus inside from the effects of anti-HIV drugs.
A separate study shows that the incidence of prostate cancer among older HIV-positive men is significantly higher than that seen among HIV-negative men of the same ages. Cancer incidence was not lowered by the use of anti-HIV drugs or higher CD4-cell counts, according to the researchers.