Sex and the genetic diversity of HIV-1


The genetic variability of HIV-1 is an important aspect of its pathogenesis, even though studies in men have demonstrated that the viral population is usually homogeneous during the first months of infection. Now, a large study comparing men and women shows that even before an antibody response is detectable, the viral population differs between the sexes (71–75).

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1


  1. 1

    Sterling, T.R. et al. Sex differences in longitudinal human immunodeficiency virus type 1 RNA levels among seroconverters. J. Infect. Dis. 180, 666–672 (1999).

  2. 2

    Farzadegan, H. et al. Sex differences in HIV-1 viral load and progression to AIDS . Lancet 352, 1510–1514 (1998).

  3. 3

    Zhu, T. et al. Genotypic and phenotypic characterization of HIV-1 patients with primary infection. Science 261, 1179– 1181 (1993).

  4. 4

    Zhu, T. et al. Genetic characterization of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in blood and genital secretions: evidence for viral compartmentalization and selection during sexual transmission. J. Virol. 70, 3098–3107 (1996).

  5. 5

    Wolfs, T.F., Zwart, G., Bakker, M. & Goudsmit, J. HIV-1 genomic RNA diversification following sexual and parenteral virus transmission . Virology 189, 103–110 (1992).

  6. 6

    Poss, M. et al. Diversity in virus populations from genital secretions and peripheral blood from women recently infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1. J. Virol. 69, 8118–8122 (1995).

  7. 7

    Long, E.M. et al. Gender differences in HIV-1 diversity at the time of infection . Nature Med. 6 71–75 (2000).

  8. 8

    Cornelissen, M. et al. Syncytium-inducing (SI) phenotype suppression at seroconversion after intramuscular inoculation of a non-syncytium-inducing/SI phenotypically mixed human immunodeficiency virus population. J. Virol. 69, 1810–1818 (1995).

  9. 9

    Cardo, D.M. et al. A case-control study of HIV seroconversion in health care workers after percutaneous exposure. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Needlestick Surveillance Group. N. Engl. J. Med. 337 , 1485–1490 (1997).

  10. 10

    Bamberger, J.D., Waldo, C.R., Gerberding, J.L. & Katz, M.H. Postexposure prophylaxis for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection following sexual assault. Am. J. Med. 106, 323–326 (1999).

  11. 11

    Gollub, E.L., Rey, D., Obadia, Y. & Moatti, J.P. Gender differences in risk behaviors among HIV+ persons with an IDU history. The link between partner characteristics and women's higher drug-sex risks. The Manif 2000 Study Group. Sex Transm. Dis. 25, 483– 488 (1998).

  12. 12

    Mellors, J.W. et al. Quantitation of HIV-1 RNA in plasma predicts outcome after seroconversion. Ann. Intern. Med. 122, 573 –579 (1995).

  13. 13

    Finzi, D. et al. Identification of a reservoir for HIV-1 in patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy. Science 278, 1295–1300 (1997).

  14. 14

    Finzi, D. et al. Latent infection of CD4+ T cells provides a mechanism for lifelong persistence of HIV-1, even in patients on effective combination therapy. Nature Med. 5, 512–517 ( 1999).

  15. 15

    Chun, T.W. et al. Presence of an inducible HIV-1 latent reservoir during highly active antiretroviral therapy. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A 94, 13193–13197 (1997).

  16. 16

    Koup, R.A. et al. Temporal association of cellular immune responses with the initial control of viremia in primary human immunodeficiency virus type 1 syndrome. J. Virol. 68, 4650– 4655 (1994).

  17. 17

    Liu, S.L. et al. HIV quasispecies and resampling. Science 273, 415–416 (1996).

  18. 18

    Ramratnam, B. et al. Rapid production and clearance of HIV-1 and hepatitis C virus assessed by large volume plasma apheresis. Lancet 354 , 1782–1785 (1999).

  19. 19

    Evans, D.T. et al. Virus-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses select for amino-acid variation in simian immunodeficiency virus Env and Nef. Nature Med. 5, 1270–1276 (1999).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ray, S., Quinn, T. Sex and the genetic diversity of HIV-1. Nat Med 6, 23–25 (2000).

Download citation

Further reading