Penis & scrotum

Topic Completed: 1 February 2010

Minor changes: 27 October 2020

Copyright: 2002-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Human immunodeficiency virus[TIAB] penis

Alcides Chaux, M.D.
Antonio L. Cubilla, M.D.
Page views in 2020: 217
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Cite this page: Chaux A, Cubilla AL. HIV. website. Accessed July 31st, 2021.
  • 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,
T cells and macrophages
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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