Bacterial vaginosis (BV) has been associated with HIV sexual transmission and increased levels of genital tract HIV RNA. We postulated that BV induces the appearance of substances in the genital tract that stimulate HIV expression locally. To test this, we measured HIV RNA levels in genital mucosal fluid from women with or without BV (defined by Nugent score) and compared them with the ability of those fluids to stimulate HIV expression in the chronically HIV-infected monocytic line U1. The U1 activity was significantly higher in women with BV (median = 1320 pg/ml p24) than in women with normal flora (median = 103 pg/ml p24, p = 0.0001). However, levels of the U1 activity were not significantly associated with levels in the genital tract of HIV RNA. Levels of the U1 activity were also not associated with levels of Gardnerella vaginalis or Mycoplasma hominis in genital fluids, suggesting these bacteria were not the source of the activity. Thus, while these data show a strong association of U1 stimulatory activity with BV, no influence of the U1 activity on genital tract HIV expression was observed.