HIV type 1 cervicovaginal reservoirs in the era of HAART
Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) does not lead to viral eradication, due to HIV-1 residual disease. We investigated whether the cervicovaginal tract serves as a viral reservoir. Seven out of eight cervicovaginal fluids were positive for cell-free HIV-1, by supersensitive reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reactions (RT-PCR), with a detection limit of 1 copy/ml. No viral outgrowth, intracellular proviral DNA, or viral RNA was detected from cervicovaginal lavage and ecto- and endocervical cells. The cervicovaginal tract of patients on HAART is likely not a major solid tissue reservoir for HIV-1. Nonetheless, the presence of even low cell-free HIV-1 RNA in cervicovaginal secretions continues to suggest the importance of practicing protected sex, even in the era of HAART.
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