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

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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.


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).


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.

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