HIV-1 provirus detection by PCR in seronegative drug addicts

R. Novati, L. Ciaffi, T. S. Migone, T. Bini, G. Morsica, A. Ruggieri, A. Nicolosi, A. Lazzarin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


One hundred and eleven whole blood samples from a cohort of HIV negative drug addicts with a high frequence of needle sharing were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction for HIV-1 DNA, to study the existence and the rate of silent HIV infection in this high risk category. DNA was extracted and amplified with SK 38-39 GAG primers of HIV. Hybridization of PCR products was carried out with a biotinilated probe (GAG SK 19), in a microplate Elisa system. Six out of 111 patients (5.4%) had a positive PCR result, confirmed over replicate experiments. Follow-up is until now available for two of them; both are still seronegative 6 and 14 months after the positive PCR result, respectively. None of the PCR positive patients had clinical symptoms or immunological abnormalities referable to HIV infection. One patient seroconverted 11 months after a negative PCR result. We conclude that silent HIV infection in this group of high risk patients seems more frequent than reported in other studies on similar cohorts of subjects at risk of HIV infection. Ongoing follow-up of PCR positive cases could clarify the clinical and virological outome of these patients. The use of microplate non radioactive hybridization system may allow a rapid and efficient detection of HIV-1 PCR products in large screening studies on high risk categories.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArchives of STD/HIV Research
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Microbiology (medical)


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