The Impact of Herpes Simplex Virus on Semen Parameters in Men with Idiopathic Infertility: A Systematic Review

Document Type : Systematic Review


1 Student Research Committee, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Department of Epidemiology, School of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

4 Maternal and Neonatal Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

5 Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

6 Department of Midwifery, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Science, Mashhad, Iran


Infertility due to the male factor is one of the major problems of infertile couples. One of the factors contributing to
male infertility could be the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the impact
of HSV on semen parameters. This systematic review was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for
Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). Different English and Persian databases including Web of Science,
PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, ProQuest as well as SID, Magiran and Iranmedex were searched
by two researchers, independently, without time limit until April 15, 2022. Observational studies that reported the
relationship between HSV and semen parameters in men with idiopathic infertility were included in this review. The
Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale was used for quality assessment of the included studies. Out of 356
retrieved articles, 12 observational studies comprising a total of 1460 patients were reviewed. Four studies examined
the effect of HSV1 virus, two studies examined the effect of HSV2 virus and five studies examined the effect of both
viruses on semen parameters. Seven studies reported at least one significant association between HSV infection and
semen parameters. Sperm count and sperm motility were semen parameters further affected by the virus. In conclusion,
HSV can be one of the risk factors for male infertility and it can affect semen parameters. However, due to the
dearth of studies, further research with more robust designs are recommended.


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