In the present study, we have investigated the anatomic distribution and the function of different populations of HIV-1- and cytomegalovirus (CMV)-specific memory CD8 T cells. The different populations of virus-specific memory CD8 T cells were distinguished on the basis of the expression of CD45RA and CCR7, and the composition of HIV-1- and CMV-specific memory CD8 T cell pools were compared in subjects with chronic HIV-1 and CMV co-infection. The distribution of HIV-1-specific CD8 T cells was similar between blood and lymph node. However, CMV-specific CD8 T cells were accumulated predominantly in the blood away from the lymphoid tissue. The majority (>70%) of HIV-1- and CMV-specific CD8 T cells in both blood and lymph node had a phenotype, e.g. CCR7-, typical of effector T cells. HIV-1-specific memory CD8 T cells were mostly (>80%) pre-terminally differentiated cells, e.g. CD45RA-CCR7-, in both blood and lymph node while 30-50% of CMV-specific CD8 T cells were terminally differentiated, e.g. CD45RA+CCR7-. Therefore, consistently with studies in mice, antigen-specific effector memory CD8 T cells accumulate predominantly in the target organ of the pathogen in humans, and the differences in the composition of HIV-1- and CMV-specific CD8 T cell pools were also present in the lymphoid tissue. A substantial proportion (30-40%) of virus-specific CD8+CCR7+ T cells produced IFN-gamma. Thus, indicating that the expression of CCR7 does not provide a clear-cut separation of memory CD8 T cells with distinct functional capacities. Taken together, these results provide further advances in the characterization of human memory CD8 T cells.