Penis and scrotum
Infectious disorders
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Topic Completed: 1 February 2010

Revised: 12 February 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Human immunodeficiency virus[TIAB] penis

Alcides Chaux, M.D.
Antonio L. Cubilla, M.D.
Page views in 2018: 80
Page views in 2019 to date: 118
Cite this page: Chaux A, Cubilla AL. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). website. Accessed September 23rd, 2019.
  • Lack of circumcision confers up to 8x risk, apparently due to high lymphocyte density in foreskin mucosa (HIV1 targets CCR5 and CXCR4 receptors on CD4+ T cells), higher than uterine ectocervix (Am J Pathol 2002;161:867, Am J Clin Pathol 2006;125:386)
  • Factors favoring HIV infection via preputial surface include greater susceptibility of foreskin mucosa to trauma, longer survival of the virus in warm and moist subpreputial spaces and lack of keratinization and high density of HIV target cells in the inner foreskin compared with the keratinized surface of the outer foreskin and glans (Nat Clin Pract Urol 2009;6:32)
  • No infiltration by HIV1 of foreskin outer surface
Diagrams / tables

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Clinical features
  • Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)
Microscopic (histologic) images

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High concentration of
Langerhans cells (CD1a),
T cells (CD4+) and macrophages
(CD68+) in foreskin

HIV1 coreceptors CCR5 and CXCR4

Outer surface (left) and inner surface (right) of foreskin

Electron microscopy images

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HIV virus particles

HIV budding from cultured lymphocyte

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