Transient or occult HIV infections may occur more frequently than progressive infections: changing the paradigm about HIV persistence

  • G. K. Sahu
  • T. McNearney
  • A. Evans
  • A. Turner
  • S. Weaver
  • J. C. Huang
  • S. Baron
  • D. Paar
  • M. W. Cloyd
Conference paper


Evidence of transient HIV infections was found in 8 subjects at high-risk for HIV infection among 47 longitudinally studied over 2–5 (average ∼3.5) years, whereas only two subjects developed progressive infection. All of these subjects developed serum antibodies (Ab) to conformational epitopes of HIV gp41 (termed “early HIV Ab”), but the 8 transiently infected subjects lost this Ab within 4–18 months, and did not seroconvert to positivity in denatured antigen EIA or Western Blot (WB). However, the two progressively infected subjects eventually seroconverted in the EIA and WB tests within one to two months after the appearance of “early HIV Ab”. HIV env and nef sequences were directly PCR amplified from the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of two of the eight transiently infected subjects during the time of “early HIV Ab”-postivity, and these showed significant sequence divergence from the HIV strains in the laboratory, indicating that they were not laboratory contaminants. Genome identity typing (“paternity-typing”) of PBMC samples obtained at the time of “early HIV Ab”-positivity, and later when Ab was absent from each of the 8 subjects, showed that blood samples were not mixed-up. This provides further evidence that transient or occult infection with HIV does occur, and perhaps at a greater frequency than do progressive infections.


Transient Infection Progressive Infection 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. K. Sahu
    • 1
  • T. McNearney
    • 3
  • A. Evans
    • 1
  • A. Turner
    • 1
  • S. Weaver
    • 2
  • J. C. Huang
    • 1
  • S. Baron
    • 1
  • D. Paar
    • 3
  • M. W. Cloyd
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology & ImmunologyUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

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