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Behavioural, Immunological and Virologic Correlates of HIV-1 Superinfection (HIV+ vs HIV++) in Rural Tanzania
Framework programme:
Project number:
EC contribution:
€ 999 730
48 months
Starting date:
1 December 2000


HIV infection is not always protective against superinfection by a second strain, but little data is available on circumstances of superinfection. It is proposed to investigate prevalence, incidence, and virologic, immunologic, clinical and social factors associated with superinfection in a cohort of highly exposed bar workers (600) in rural Tanzania, where three HIV-1 subtypes co-circulate (A, C, D). Once enrolled by voluntary consent, social research on the parameters of a cohort and the community, regular STI treatment and health care, and counselling on HIV prevention will be delivered, and blood and CVL will be collected every three months for three years. The study will help to determine whether superinfection can occur in the face of a fully developed immune response, will define its natural history and virologic outcomes, including the emergence of recombinants, and it will provide a new and innovative approach to define correlates of protective immunity for vaccine development.


The objectives of this project are:

1) to determine the frequency and parameters of superinfection with a second HIV-1 strain in a cohort of bar workers in rural Tanzania who are exposed to HIV-1 subtypes A, C, and D

2) to determine whether superinfection can occur in the face of a fully developed anti-HIV immune response

3) to determine the rate of protection against superinfection; if it is substantial, to determine the protective correlates that can be used for better vaccines

4) to develop a social profile of sex work in the study area and describe the community relationships in order to design more effective interventions, and define parameters important for the future conduct of vaccine trials

5) to provide routine health care and STI treatment among study participants at each of the 12 visits over two and a half years

6) to convey this information to a  more effective design of anti-HIV vaccines for the region and an effective development of vaccine trial cohort, and to provide a technical base for the support of vaccine trials.

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