Women are infected with HIV in increasing numbers; the predominant mode of spread is through heterosexual transmission. Little is known regarding the mechanism of HIV transit through the female genital tract. We investigated whether early passage cervical epithelial cells could be directly infected with HIV-1LAI. Virus production was measured using the reverse transcriptase (RT) assay and direct assay for syncytia-forming units. In-situ hybridization was performed on infected cervical cell cultures. Immunostaining was carried out using a monoclonal antibody to leukocyte common antigen (LCA). Virus was recovered in the supernatants of all infected cervical cultures. Localization of HIV infection using in-situ hybridization identified rare cells in the population which gave a strong signal. These infected cells had a lymphoid morphology and were also detected using immunostaining for LAC. Cervical epithelial cells were uninfected in this in vitro model; cells in this population which supported viral replication were most likely of the macrophage/monocyte lineage.