CURRENT approaches to preventing infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have focused on the retrovirus itself. However, biologic and epidemiologic studies of HIV and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) indicate that more emphasis should be placed on the virus-infected cell. Several groups of researchers1-10 have demonstrated the presence of HIV in many different hematopoietic cells, including T and B lymphocytes and macrophages, as
See also p 3023. well as in cells (macrophages and endothelial and glial cells) of the brain. These infected cells can survive and serve as reservoirs (factories) for continual virus production and spread. When found in body fluids, they can transfer the infection to other individuals. T-helper lymphocytes generally die after HIV infection,1-4 but some can replicate HIV to high titer in culture without undergoing cell death.11 Thus, they too could serve as a source of virus transmission.
In studies from our laboratory,
Levy JA. The Transmission of AIDS: The Case of the Infected Cell. JAMA. 1988;259(20):3037–3038. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720200059035