Detection of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and type 2 in the female genital tract: Implications for the understanding of virus transmission
Risk of perinatal or female to male sexual transmission of HIV is likely to be associated with whether, and at what concentration, the virus is present in the cervical and vaginal secretions of the HIV-infected woman. Examining correlates of cervical and vaginal HIV shedding is, therefore, essential for the development of strategies to interrupt HIV transmission. This article presents the rationale for using detection of HIV in the female genital tract as a marker of infectivity, and briefly describes methods for detecting HIV-1 and HIV-2 in cervical or vaginal fluids. Findings from studies incorporating the measurement of HIV in the female genital tract are reviewed, placing particular emphasis on issues relevant to epidemiological studies of HIV transmission.
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