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J Infect Dis. 2010 Nov 1;202 Suppl 3:S333-8. doi: 10.1086/655967.

Determinants of protection among HIV‐exposed seronegative persons: an overview.

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Center for AIDS Research, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, University Hospitals/Case Medical Center, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Both clinical experience and a growing medical literature indicate that some persons who have been exposed to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection remain uninfected. Although in some instances this may represent good fortune, cohorts of uninfected persons have been reported who are considered at high risk for infection. In these cohorts a variety of characteristics have been proposed as mediating protection, but to date only the 32–base pair deletion in the chemokine (C‐C motif) receptor 5 gene, which results in complete failure of cell surface expression of this coreceptor, has been associated with high‐level protection from HIV infection. With this in mind, there are probably many other factors that may individually or in combination provide some level of protection from acquisition of HIV infection. Because some of these factors are probably incompletely protective or inconsistently active, identifying them with confidence will be difficult. Nonetheless, clarifying the determinants of protection against HIV infection is a high priority that will require careful selection of high‐risk uninfected cohorts, who should undergo targeted studies of plausible mediators and broad screening for unexpected determinants of protection.

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