Evidence for Frequent Reinfection with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 of a Different Subtype
Rainwater, Stephanie MJ
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A major premise underlying current human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine approaches is that preexisting HIV-1-specific immunity will block or reduce infection. However, the recent identification of several cases of HIV-1 reinfection suggests that the specific immune response generated for chronic HIV-1 infection may not be adequate to protect against infection by a second HIV-1 strain. It has been unclear, though, whether these individuals are representative of the global epidemic or are rare cases. Here we show that in a population of high-risk women, HIV-1 reinfection occurs almost as commonly as first infections. The study was designed to detect cases of reinfection by HIV-1 of a different subtype and thus captured cases where there was considerable diversity between the first and second strain. In each case, the second virus emerged ∼1 year after the first infection, and in two cases, it emerged when viral levels were high, suggesting that a well-established HIV-1 infection may provide little benefit in terms of immunizing against reinfection, at least by more-divergent HIV-1 variants. Our findings indicate an urgent need for studies of larger cohorts to determine the incidence and timing of both intersubtype and intrasubtype reinfection.
CitationJ. Virol. August 2005 vol. 79 no. 16 10701-10708
University of Nairobi