The incidence of simian virus 40 (SV40) infections in rhesus macaques infected with simian-human immunodeficiency viruses (SHIV) and in uninfected animals was determined using PCR. Rates varied from 5% in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of uninfected monkeys to 19.6% in SHIV-infected macaques. Much higher detection rates, up to 75%, were found in lymph nodes and spleen samples of SHIV-infected animals. Sequence analysis of PCR amplicons revealed that they form two genetic clusters, one containing the majority of known SV40 strains and the other formed by variants with 7% genetic difference. Based on this difference, we propose two SV40 types: "type 1" or "classical type" for the majority of SV40 strains and "type 2" for the novel SV40 variants. The genome of one variant, SV40-Ri257, was completely sequenced and analyzed. The agnogene of SV40-Ri257 extends into the VP2 open reading frame and encodes a typical agnoprotein fused to a C-terminal hydrophobic region. The transcriptional control region (TCR) of SV40-Ri257 is the least conserved region compared to type 1 viruses. Particularly, the 3' end of the TCR, containing the early promoter and enhancer region, exhibits considerable variation. Further analysis of SHIV-infected macaques with type-specific PCRs revealed that the TCR of type 1 was completely conserved, whereas this region in type 2 varied considerably within the early enhancer region. We provide evidence here for the existence of a novel SV40 type in rhesus macaques and show that double infections with both types frequently occur.