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Valacyclovir Cuts Viral Load in HIV-1+/HSV-2 Seronegative

Prodrug valacyclovir active in HIV-1 infected patients who are HSV-2 seronegative

FRIDAY, March 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The prodrug valacyclovir (valACV) reduces viral load in HIV-1 infected herpes simplex virus (HSV)-2-seronegative patients, according to a study published online March 3 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Christophe Vanpouille, Ph.D., from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues conducted a randomized crossover trial involving 18 HIV-1 infected HSV-2-seronegative individuals. Participants had CD4 counts of ≥500 cells/µL and were not receiving antiretroviral therapy. Patients were randomized to receive 12 weeks of valACV 500 mg followed by a two-week washout, and then 12 weeks of placebo, or 12 weeks of placebo followed by a two-week washout, and then 12 weeks of valACV.

The researchers observed a reduction in the viral load in plasma of patients treated with valACV for 12 weeks, by 0.37 log10 copies/mL on average.

"These data indicate that the effects of valACV on HIV-1 replication are not related to the suppression of HSV-2-mediated inflammation and are consistent with a direct effect of acyclovir on HIV-1 replication," the authors write.

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