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IL-17 is proinflammatory cytokine secreted by a unique CD4+ T (Th17) cell subset and proposed to play a role in host defense. We hypothesized that Th17 cells are lost in HIV-1 infection. HIV-1-infected children with plasma viremia below 50 copies/ml had IL-17 production, whereas those with detectable viremia had minimal secretion. These results imply viral-mediated destruction or impairment of Th17 cells and argue for complete suppression of viremia for reconstitution of Th17 cells.