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Genital tract reservoirs

Galvin, Shannon Ra; Cohen, Myron Sa,b,c

Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS: March 2006 - Volume 1 - Issue 2 - p 162–166
doi: 10.1097/01.COH.0000199799.06454.10
Reservoirs: Clinical science

Purpose of review The purpose of this article is to review recent findings about HIV in the genital tract. HIV is primarily a sexually transmitted disease, and the efficiency of transmission must reflect the biology of the genital tract. In addition, it has become increasingly clear that the male and female genital tract represent a unique reservoir that requires independent and detailed study.

Recent findings This review will address new data on the source of HIV in the genital tract, factors that affect HIV genital viral burden, ways that genital HIV differs from circulating HIV, drug resistance in the genital tract, and new insights and models of genital HIV transmission and immune response.

Summary Understanding how HIV infects, resides, and survives in the genital milieu is critical to understanding the disease itself, and devising ways to halt its spread.

Departments of aMedicine

bMicrobiology and Immunology

cPublic Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

Correspondence to Myron S. Cohen, MD, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 130 Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA Tel: +1 919 966 2536; fax: +1 919 966 6714; e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.