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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Spatial stochastic models of HSV-2 lesion dynamics and their link with HIV-1 acquisition Byrne, Catherine Margaret McCombe


Patients with Herpes Simplex Virus-2 (HSV-2) infection face a significantly higher risk of contracting HIV-1. This marked increase is thought to be due not only to herpetic lesions serving as an entry point for the HIV-1 virus, but also to the increase in CD4+ T cells in the human genital mucosa during HSV-2 lesional events. By creating a stochastic, spatial, mathematical model describing the behaviour of the HSV-2 infection and immune response in the genital mucosa, I first capture the dynamics that occur during the development of an HSV-2 lesion. I then use this model to quantify the risk of acquiring HIV-1 in HSV-2 positive patients upon sexual exposure, and determine whether antivirals meant to control HSV-2 can decrease HIV-1 infectivity. While theory predicts that HSV-2 treatment should lower HIV-1 infection probability, my results show that this may not be the case unless a critical dosage of HSV-2 treatment is given to the patient. These results help to explain the conflicting data on HIV-1 infection probability in HSV-2 patients and allow for further insight into the type of treatment HSV-2 positive patients should receive to prevent HIV-1 infection.

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