n Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine - Viral dynamics in children : viral replication

Volume 3, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1608-9693
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6751



The dynamics of HIV-1 replication in children are quite distinct from the pattern encountered in adults. In adults, the high levels of plasma HIV-1 RNA fall to a steady state by 4 - 6 months after primary infection. This is largely due to the effects of the host immune responses on the levels of viral replication. This 'steady state' of plasma HIV-1 RNA has been found to predict the rate of subsequent disease progression and provides information independent of other parameters, such as the CD4+ lymphocyte count. A model of HIV-1 replication suggests that the majority of plasma virions (93 - 99%) are produced by productively infected CD4+ lymphocytes, while smaller contributions (< 10%) to the plasma virion pool are made by populations of long-lived cells (e.g. macrophages and dendritic cells).

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