Absence of Recoverable Infectious Virus and Unique Immune Responses in an Asymptomatic HIV+ Long-Term Survivor

David Schwartz, Usha Sharma, Michael Busch, Kent Weinhold, Tom Matthews, Judy Lieberman, Deborah Birx, Hoomay Farzedagen, Joseph Margolick, Thomas Quinn, Brian Davis, Omar Bagasra, Roger Pomerantz, Raphael Viscidi

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68 Scopus citations


We have studied a woman with transfusion-acquired HIV who appears to have contained infectious virus to consistently undetectable levels over a 13-year period without antiviral treatment. She received the infected transfusion for intra- and postpartum blood loss immediately after delivery of her second child in 1981. She had no acute febrile syndrome and has never had HIV-associated clinical signs or symptoms in the 13 years since infection. She was first tested and found positive for HIV antibodies in 1985, and the infected blood donor was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986 and died of AIDS-related complications in 1989. Two other recipients of packed erythrocytes from this donor (in 1980 and 1982) also became infected and were subsequently diagnosed with AIDS. Between January 1986 and April 1994, in the setting of continuous and unambiguous Western blot HIV-specific antibodies and intermittently positive low-level HIV DNA signal after polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification, more than 30 separate cell cocultures performed in several independent laboratories failed to yield evidence of infectious virus, despite special efforts to induce and detect HIV replication. Immunologically, a strong in vitro proliferative response to HIV envelope proteins also distinguished this subject from other asymptomatic HIV+ individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1703-1711
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS research and human retroviruses
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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