Apolipoprotein E (APOE) alleles have been associated with the severity of, or susceptibility to, infection by various microbes. We investigated the potential association between the APOE-ϵ4 allele and the rate of recurrence of genital herpes in patients who were HIV positive and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) seropositive. The APOE-ϵ4 allele was significantly associated with recurrent genital ulceration independent of ethnicity, antiretroviral therapy and CD4 count (OR 8.3; 95% CI 2.4 to 28.5). To our knowledge, this is the first published study to demonstrate this association and suggests that APOE-ϵ4 may represent a future prognostic marker for symptomatic recurrence of genital herpes in individuals with HIV.
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