Why is the risk of HIV infection increased in patients with trichomoniasis?

Updated: Jan 02, 2020
  • Author: Darvin Scott Smith, MD, MSc, DTM&H; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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T vaginalis infection is also strongly associated with the presence of other STIs, including gonorrhea, [52] chlamydia, and sexually transmitted viruses. T vaginalis infection has even been shown to increase a patient’s susceptibility to sexually transmitted viruses, including herpes simplex virus, human papillomavirus, and HIV. [39, 46] Persons with trichomoniasis are twice as likely to develop HIV infection as the general population. [35] One potential explanation for this is that T vaginalis disrupts the epithelial monolayer, leading to increased passage of the HIV virus. [53] Another posits that T vaginalis induces immune activation, specifically lymphocyte activation and replication and cytokine production, leading to increased viral replication in HIV-infected cells. [54] Further research is needed to clarify the exact mechanism by which T vaginalis increases the risk of HIV infection.

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