The prevalence and incidence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections were studied in a group of homosexual men. Of the 710 participants, 501 (70.6%) had complement fixing antibodies to CMV on entry to the study. During the follow up (maximum 23 months) 69 CMV infections were found: 50 primary infections among the 209 seronegative men (attack rate 27.3%), and 19 recurrent infections among the 501 seropositive men (attack rate 6.2%). The prevalence of antibody to CMV was correlated with four characteristics of the participants' lifestyles: duration of homosexual activity, number of different sexual partners, history of syphilis, and anal sexual contact. Among the seronegative men, the incidence of primary infection with CMV correlated with a history of syphilis and anal sexual contact. We conclude that infections with CMV are highly prevalent among homosexual men, and that anal sexual contact plays an important part in the transmission of this virus.
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