The presence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) genome was investigated by applying in situ hybridisation techniques to peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Twenty asymptomatic anti-HIV seronegative homosexual men were the subjects of our study. The cells were hybridised with: (1) an SP 64 plasmid containing the nine-kilobase SstI-SstI viral insert from the lambda BH 10 recombinant clone; this can recognise both viral RNA and proviral DNA, and (2) with a pA01 plasmid containing HBV DNA genome. The DNA probes were modified by inserting an antigenic sulfone group in the cytosine moieties and the visualisation was performed by a double antibody immunohistochemical reaction. In two subjects both the HIV genome and HBV DNA were detected whereas another two subjects were positive for HBV DNA and for the HIV genome respectively. Thus people who are seronegative for anti-HIV specific antibodies may be infected with HIV.
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