Objective: To report a novel clinical presentation: a chronic erosive herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection of the penis which developed in AIDS patients following the commencement of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). The lesions were unresponsive to antiviral treatments which had previously been effective, and this could not be accounted for in terms of increased antiviral resistance.
Design: Detailed case-note review and investigation of three cases which presented at two large HIV units in London.
Methods: Review of all histology with immunohistochemistry for HSV, HSV drug susceptibility assays, tissue typing and measurement of in vitro lymphocyte functional activity against HSV.
Results: The histology of the lesions was the same in each case, with the presence of HSV on immunohistochemistry and an unusual prominence of plasma cell and eosinophils in the inflammatory infiltrate. HSV-specific lymphoproliferative responses were normal in two cases, but subnormal in a third case. All individuals shared the HLA class I molecules B72 and Cw0202 and the class II allele DRB4.
Conclusion: We believe this to be a previously unreported adverse consequence of HAART, the result of partial immune restoration, reminiscent of the the recently described syndrome of immune recovery vitritis.