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Volume 23, Issue 4 (July 2021) 23, 335–347; 10.4103/aja.aja_82_20

Viral infections and implications for male reproductive health

Thiago A Teixeira1,2,3,4, Yasmin C Oliveira1,4, Felipe S Bernardes1,2,3, Esper G Kallas5, Amaro N Duarte-Neto6, Sandro C Esteves7,8,9, Joël R Drevet10, Jorge Hallak1,2,3,11

1 Androscience, Science and Innovation Center in Andrology and High-Complex Clinical and Research Andrology Laboratory, São Paulo 04534-011, SP, Brazil
2 Division of Urology, University of São Paulo, São Paulo 05403-000, SP, Brazil
3 Men's Health Study Group, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of São Paulo, São Paulo 05508-060, SP, Brazil
4 Division of Urology, School of Medicine, Federal University of Amapa, Macapa 68903-419, AP, Brazil
5 Department of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, University of São Paulo, São Paulo 05403-000, SP, Brazil
6 BIAS – Brazilian Image Autopsy Study Group, Department of Pathology, University of São Paulo, São Paulo 05403-000, SP, Brazil
7 ANDROFERT, Andrology and Human Reproduction Clinic, Campinas 13075-460, SP, Brazil
8 Department of Surgery (Division of Urology), University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas 13083-968, SP, Brazil
9 Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus 8000, Denmark
10 GReD Institute, CNRS-INSERM-Université Clermont Auvergne, Faculty of Medicine, Clermont-Ferrand 63000, France
11 Reproductive Toxicology Unit, Department of Pathology, University of São Paulo, São Paulo 05403-000, SP, Brazil

Correspondence: Dr. J Hallak (hallakj@androscience.com.br) or Dr. JR Drevet (joel.drevet@uca.fr)

Date of Submission 17-Aug-2020 Date of Acceptance 02-Nov-2020 Date of Web Publication 15-Jan-2021


Viral infections have haunted humankind since times immemorial. Overpopulation, globalization, and extensive deforestation have created an ideal environment for a viral spread with unknown and multiple shedding routes. Many viruses can infect the male reproductive tract, with potential adverse consequences to male reproductive health, including infertility and cancer. Moreover, some genital tract viral infections can be sexually transmitted, potentially impacting the resulting offspring's health. We have summarized the evidence concerning the presence and adverse effects of the relevant viruses on the reproductive tract (mumps virus, human immunodeficiency virus, herpes virus, human papillomavirus, hepatitis B and C viruses, Ebola virus, Zika virus, influenza virus, and coronaviruses), their routes of infection, target organs and cells, prevalence and pattern of virus shedding in semen, as well as diagnosis/testing and treatment strategies. The pathophysiological understanding in the male genital tract is essential to assess its clinical impact on male reproductive health and guide future research.

Keywords: male genital tract; reproduction; semen; sexual transmission; sperm; testis; viral persistence; viruses

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