The relationship between human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and the progression of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection to AIDS was evaluated using the polymerase chain reaction to quantitate HHV-6 genome equivalents in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and saliva of 32 HIV-1-seropositive men. Unlike other herpesviruses, HHV-6 was found with higher frequency and in higher copy numbers in HIV-infected men with high rather than low CD4 cell counts. Among subjects with ≥400 CD4 cells/mL, 100% had detectable HHV-6 genomes in PBMC compared with 57.9% of subjects with ≤400 CD4 cells/mL (P ≤.05). There was no significant correlation between HHV-6 antibody titer or number of amplifiable copies of HHV-6 DNA in saliva and stage of HIV disease or CD4 cell number.
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