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J Infect Dis. 2000 Feb;181(2):555-63.

Genital tract human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) shedding and inflammation and HIV-1 env diversity in perinatal HIV-1 transmission.

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Department of Obstetrics, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


This study sought to identify genital tract characteristics associated with vertical transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). HIV-1 DNA and RNA, HIV-1 env diversity, and inflammatory cells were quantified in cervicovaginal lavages (CVLs) of 24 women enrolled in the Women and Infants Transmission Study; 7 women transmitted HIV-1 perinatally. Vaginal candidiasis, HIV-1 culture positivity, levels of HIV-1 DNA and cell-free RNA, and HIV-1 env diversity were significantly higher in the CVLs of transmitters. CVL HIV-1 DNA levels correlated with higher levels of inflammatory cells and cell-free HIV-1 RNA. Of subjects with paired blood and CVL specimens, there was more HIV-1 env heterogeneity between blood and CVLs in transmitters than in nontransmitters. In summary, increased HIV-1 shedding is correlated with a more complex population of HIV-1 quasispecies in the genital tracts of parturient women, which may increase the probability that a fetotropic strain is transmitted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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