High-level viremia in adults and children infected with human immunodeficiency virus: relation to disease stage and CD4+ lymphocyte levels

J Infect Dis. 1991 Jul;164(1):72-80. doi: 10.1093/infdis/164.1.72.


Sixty-eight adults and nine children infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) were evaluated consecutively for the presence and amount of cell-free infectious virus in their plasma. Viremia was detected in 18 of 68 adults and in five of nine children; titers ranged from 10 to 100,000,000 TCID/ml plasma. Among the adults, none of 19 asymptomatic patients, 4 of 34 AIDS-related complex patients, and 14 of 15 AIDS patients had cell-free infectious virus in their plasma. None of 35 adult subjects with CD4+ lymphocyte counts greater than 400/mm3 were viremic, whereas 3 of 17 with 200-400 CD4+ lymphocytes/mm3 and 15 of 16 individuals with less than 200 CD4+ lymphocytes/mm3 were plasma viremic. In contrast to adults, each of five children infected with HIV-1 in utero or during the perinatal period were plasma viremic regardless of their CD4+ lymphocytes counts (range, 42-2227/mm3), duration of infection, or clinical stage; however, children infected by HIV-1 at older ages were less frequently plasma viremic. Therapy with zidovudine led to a 10- to 10(6)-fold decline in plasma HIV-1 TCID in all eight subjects studied before and after treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes*
  • Child
  • Gene Products, gag / blood
  • HIV Antibodies / blood
  • HIV Antigens / blood
  • HIV Core Protein p24
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / microbiology*
  • HIV-1 / growth & development*
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Viral Core Proteins / blood
  • Viremia / drug therapy
  • Viremia / immunology
  • Viremia / microbiology*
  • Zidovudine / therapeutic use


  • Gene Products, gag
  • HIV Antibodies
  • HIV Antigens
  • HIV Core Protein p24
  • Viral Core Proteins
  • Zidovudine