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April 6, 1984

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

Author Affiliations

From the School of Public Health (Drs Detels and Visscher and Mr Greene and Ms Schwartz) and School of Medicine (Drs Fahey and Gottlieb), UCLA, and the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md (Drs Madden and Sever).

JAMA. 1984;251(13):1719-1722. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340370051029

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)