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J Infect Dis. 2012 Sep 1;206(5):770-9. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jis422. Epub 2012 Jun 27.

Reduced inflammation and CD4 loss in acute SHIV infection during oral pre-exposure prophylaxis.

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  • 1Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



The impact of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with antiretrovirals on breakthrough HIV or SHIV infection is not fully documented. We addressed the hypothesis that SHIV(SF162P3) infection despite active PrEP results in altered early immune parameters, compared with untreated infection.


Eleven rhesus macaques were infected during repeated, rectal, low-dose SHIV(SF162P3) exposures while receiving concurrent oral PrEP (Truvada [n = 2] or GS7340 [n = 4]) or as untreated controls (n = 5). We measured SHIV RNA, inflammatory cytokines, CD4 cells, and SHIV-specific and memory T cells until 20 weeks after peak viremia.


SHIV infection during PrEP resulted in 100-fold lower peak viremia and lower IL-15, IL-18, and IL-1Ra levels, compared with controls (P < .05; Wilcoxon rank-sum test). Unlike controls, PrEP-treated macaques showed no significant CD4 cell count reduction during acute infection and developed more SHIV-specific central memory T cells, relative to controls. After in vivo CD8 cell depletion, viral load increased to similar levels, indicating that CD8 cells were critical for viral control in both groups.


PrEP with antiretrovirals has beneficial effects on early SHIV infection even when infection is not prevented. Although long-term immune control could not be examined in this SHIV infection model, our results suggest that PrEP results in improved early disease parameters in breakthrough infections.

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