Elevated Cervical White Blood Cell Infiltrate Is Associated with Genital HIV Detection in a Longitudinal Cohort of Antiretroviral Therapy-Adherent Women

Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases (Impact Factor: 5.78). 10/2010; 202(10):1543-52. DOI: 10.1086/656720
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Identification of factors associated with the presence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in female genital secretions is critical for intervention strategies targeting transmission and eliminating replication of genital virus. We sought to monitor the prevalence of genital HIV shedding in antiretroviral therapy-adherent women over time and to assess changes in the genital microenvironment.
Levels of cell-free HIV (HIV RNA) and HIV-infected cells (HIV DNA) were monitored in peripheral blood samples and cervical and vaginal fluid samples at monthly intervals in 11 women for 1 year. Genital tract infections and fluctuations in cervical and vaginal white blood cell counts were also evaluated at each study visit.
Plasma HIV was undetectable at the majority of study visits; when detected, it was only at low levels. Throughout the study, genital HIV RNA and DNA were detected in each person. Combined genital HIV (RNA and DNA) was detected at 49.2% of study visits and was associated with an elevated concentration of cervical white blood cell infiltrate (odds ratio, 2.52 [95% confidence interval, 1.01-6.22]; P = .04). Infiltrate was not associated with a clinical disorder or patient-reported symptoms.
Despite antiretroviral therapy adherence and clinically suppressed plasma viremia, HIV was intermittently detected in genital secretions and was associated with subclinical inflammation and cells trafficking to the cervical mucosa.

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