Mullins Molecular Retrovirology Lab

  • Department of Microbiology
  • School of Medicine
  • University of Washington
University of Washington/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research

Citation Information

Goulston C, Stevens E, Gallo D, Mullins JI, Hanson CV, Katzenstein D (1996). Human immunodeficiency virus in plasma and genital secretions during the menstrual cycle. The Journal of infectious diseases, 174(4), 858-61. (pubmed)


Six human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive women were studied weekly over 8 weeks to detect HIV RNA in plasma and cervical secretions and proviral DNA in cervical, vaginal, and cervicovaginal lavage samples by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification techniques. In cervical swab samples, cell-free HIV RNA was detected more frequently than cell-associated HIV proviral DNA (22/48 vs. 7/48, respectively). Cervical HIV RNA was consistently detected in 2 women with plasma HIV RNA > 100,000 copies/mL but was not detected in 2 women with plasma HIV RNA < 10,000 copies/mL, regardless of menstruation status. HIV-specific IgA was detected in the plasma of 2 women and in at least 1 cervicovaginal lavage sample from all 6 women. Thus, quantitation of cervical HIV RNA can be accomplished by PCR techniques and may be useful in evaluation genital viral shedding.