Indexed on: 26 Jul '05Published on: 26 Jul '05Published in: Journal of Infection
Cervicovaginal secretions represent the primary vehicle in mother to infant and sexual HIV-1 transmission. Understanding the viral dynamics in this compartment is important to improve interventions to decrease HIV transmission.To evaluate the correlation of HIV-1 blood plasma viral load and cervicovaginal HIV-1 viral load and the effect of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on cervicovaginal HIV-1 viral load.A cross-sectional study among HIV-1 infected women recruited between February 2002 and January 2003 and a longitudinal study that included 11 women who initiated ART were performed. HIV-1 viral load was measured in the female genital tract and in blood plasma using the Nuclisens assay before and 1 month after ART introduction.HIV-1 viral load in cervicovaginal lavage was significantly correlated with HIV-1 blood plasma viral load (n = 27, Spearman rho = 0.73, p<0.001). In the longitudinal study, antiretroviral therapy was associated with a reduction of 1.44 log10 on genital HIV-1 viral load (95% CI = 0.57-2.30, p = 0.004, Student's t-test).HIV-1 viral load in female genital secretions is correlated with blood plasma HIV-1 viral load. Antiretroviral therapy substantially reduces HIV-1 viral load in the female genital tract.