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September 7, 1984

Spermatozoa and Immune Dysregulation in Homosexual Men

Author Affiliations

Bay Area Physicians for Human Rights San Francisco

JAMA. 1984;252(9):1130. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350090018009

To the Editor.—  In their discussion of chronic immune stimulation by sperm alloantigens,1 the authors conclude that "chronic, repeated exposure to sperm during anal intercourse results in a high frequency of allogeneic immunization and may play an important role in the development of acquired immune dysregulation among homosexual males."Since the duration of monogamy of the male homosexual couples in the study was only nine to 60 months, an equally plausible explanation for the reduced effector-suppressor T-call ratios in the anal-receptive partners is that these persons had been exposed to the putative acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) agent or to some other potentially immunosuppressive agent, such as cytomegalovirus, hepatitis B, or enteric protozoa.Anal-receptive homosexual (and heterosexual) intercourse has been practiced at least since the beginning of recorded human history. Although sperm-induced allogeneic immunization may be a cofactor in immune dysregulation, it seems unlikely that it is the primary