Human T-lymphotropic Virus Co-infections in Adults Infected With Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Am J Med Sci. 2016 Sep;352(3):258-60. doi: 10.1016/j.amjms.2016.05.023. Epub 2016 May 27.


Introduction: Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 or 2 (HTLV-1/2) co-infection in patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can lead to increased morbidity. Because HTLV-1/2 shares a similar transmission route with HIV, HTLV-1/2 infection may be more prevalent in HIV-infected individuals. However, rates of HTLV-1/2 co-infection among HIV-infected individuals have not been studied recently in the United States.

Materials and methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study using serum from 292 HIV-infected subjects from one clinic in Virginia. Serum samples were tested for co-infection with HTLV-1/2 by commercial ELISA; positive results were then confirmed via western blot, which also differentiated between HTLV-1 and -2.

Results: Seven (2.4%) of the subjects were co-infected with HTLV-2. One subject (among the seven co-infected with HTLV-2) was co-infected with HTLV-1 (0.3%). The only demographic factor significantly associated with HTLV-2 infection was history of intravenous drug abuse (p=0.002).

Conclusions: While our results are limited to a single city, our low rates of co-infection do not support routine screening for HTLV-1/2 co-infection among HIV-infected individuals in the United States.

Keywords: Co-infection; HIV; HTLV; Human Immunodeficiency Virus; Human T-lymphotropic Virus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Coinfection / blood*
  • Coinfection / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / virology*
  • HTLV-I Infections / complications
  • HTLV-I Infections / epidemiology
  • HTLV-I Infections / virology*
  • HTLV-II Infections / complications
  • HTLV-II Infections / epidemiology
  • HTLV-II Infections / virology*
  • Human T-lymphotropic virus 1 / isolation & purification
  • Human T-lymphotropic virus 2 / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged