Factors Contributing to the Lack of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV‐1) Transmission in HIV‐1–Discordant Partners
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Correlates of resistance to infection by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) are important for defining potential therapeutic interventions and for prophylactic vaccination. In this study, 11 couples discordant in their HIV-1 infection status were prospectively evaluated for the presence of protective factors. Behavioral characteristics of all subjects entailed a high risk of transmission. Cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses against viruses isolated from the infected partner, and against laboratory virus isolates, were detected in 5 (45%) of 11 HIV-negative partners, including a CCR5Delta32-homozygous and a heterozygous subject. No CTL responses were observed in 6 control unexposed subjects. Marked variation in lymphocyte susceptibility to viral infection was noted. Resistance attributable to major histocompatibility complex discordance or anti-major histocompatibility complex antibodies was not identified. These results suggest that a combination of factors, including cellular immunity, viral characteristics, and coreceptor integrity, may be involved in the persistent nontransmission of HIV.
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