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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Jan;188(1):122-8.

Genital tract and plasma human immunodeficiency virus viral load throughout the menstrual cycle in women who are infected with ovulatory human immunodeficiency virus.

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  • 1Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Erratum in

  • Am J Obstet Gynecol.2003 Apr;188(4):1038.



The purpose of this study was to determine the vaginal, cervical, and plasma viral load through the menstrual cycle in women who are positive for human immunodeficiency virus.


A prospective cohort study was performed on 14 women with ovulatory menstrual cycles who have human immunodeficiency virus. Duplicate cervical and vaginal viral load samples (n = 301) were taken at four stages (menstrual, follicular, periovulatory, and luteal) of two consecutive cycles.


Participant characteristics were mean age of 32.7 years, median human immunodeficiency virus helper cell count value of 355, and median plasma viral load of 24,000 copies/mL. Through the menstrual cycle, there was no statistically significant difference in plasma viral load, but there was a significant decrease in genital tract viral load at the periovulatory phase (vagina, P =.018; cervix, P =.007). Vaginal and cervical viral load were correlated (r = 0.582, P <.001).


Although the plasma viral load remained constant throughout the menstrual cycle, the genital viral load decreased at the periovulatory phase. These results suggest that local factors may affect the genital viral load compartment independent of plasma viral load.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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