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Title: Decreased helper T lymphocytes in homosexual men. II. Sexual practices.
Authors: Goedert JJ,  Biggar RJ,  Winn DM,  Mann DL,  Byar DP,  Strong DM,  DiGioia RA,  Grossman RJ,  Sanchez WC,  Kase RG
Journal: Am J Epidemiol
Date: 1985 May
Branches: CGB, EBP
PubMed ID: 3160232
PMC ID: not available
Abstract: In June 1982, the sexual practices of 245 homosexual male outpatients of private physicians were evaluated in relationship to decreased numbers of helper T lymphocytes, an abnormality that is characteristic of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Three risk groups were defined a priori--85 high-risk men from central Manhattan ("New York"), 96 intermediate-risk men from Washington, DC, with AIDS-area homosexual contacts ("Washington-exposed"), and 64 low-risk Washington, DC, men without such contacts ("Washington-unexposed"). An increasing number of homosexual partners was correlated with decreasing helper T-cell counts (R = -0.29, p = 0.009) and decreasing helper:suppressor T-cell ratios (R = -0.32, p = 0.005) in the entire study group combined and in New York subjects separately. Suppressor T-cell counts were unrelated to the number of partners in all three groups. Increasingly frequent receptive anal intercourse correlated with decreasing helper T-cell counts most clearly in the New York City group (R = -0.23, p = 0.04), somewhat less so in the Washington-exposed group (R = -0.18, p = 0.07), and not at all in the Washington-unexposed group (R = -0.09, p = 0.48). This association persisted in the New York and Washington-exposed groups after adjusting for seven other sexual practices, the number of homosexual partners, and five other potentially confounding variables. A transmissible agent associated with receptive anal intercourse best explains these data. The cause of these low helper T-cell counts may also be the cause of AIDS.