It is not known whether independent tissue-specific evolution accounts for the differences between human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) subpopulations in intestinal tissue and blood. To study this, sequential serum samples from three persons were analysed for the presence of HIV-1 V3 genotypes which were detected exclusively in faeces at a specific time-point. For two persons the faeces genotype was found in serum samples collected before the time of faeces collection: 7 months for one person and 32 months for the other person. In the third person, serum collected 1 month after faeces collection contained the faeces genotype in abundance. These data indicate that a difference between intestinal tissue and blood HIV-1 subpopulations is not the result of complete compartmentalization and independent HIV-1 evolution in intestinal tissue, but that it reflects an unequal distribution of HIV-1 in different tissues.


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