Analysis of HIV-1 variation in blood and semen during treatment and treatment interruption

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The variability of populations of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in blood and semen, with respect to envelope and polymerase gene sequences, was examined longitudinally in a patient experiencing treatment failure, interruption of treatment, and successful reintroduction of therapy. During treatment failure, there was little evidence of compartmentalisation between blood and semen, with virus with identical resistance-associated mutations observed in both compartments and lack of clustering with respect to envelope gene sequences. After cessation of treatment, wild-type virus became the predominant population, displaying distinct envelope gene populations, indicating that wild-type virus had overgrown the resistant virus, rather than the resistant virus reverting to wild-type. Once successful therapy had been recommenced, it was possible to distinguish distinct populations of virus in the two compartments. These data support the hypothesis that the male genital tract represents a distinct HIV-1 reservoir.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-72
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number4
Early online date10 Oct 2002
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002


  • semen, drug resistance, blood, virus populations, HIV-1