The human T-lymphotropic virus type III (HTLV-III) is the primary cause of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and related disorders (ARC). Prior studies have reported that nearly all symptomatic patients with AIDS or ARC manifest antibody to HTLV-III. This observation has engendered efforts to screen for HTLV-III, especially prior to blood donation, with assays for antibody to HTLV-III. We report the first two cases, one with AIDS and one with ARC, that are HTLV-III virus positive but antibody negative. Accurate diagnosis of HTLV-III infection in some cases may require direct virus culture or tests for antigen. In addition, lack of HTLV-III antibody may indicate an atypical clinical course of AIDS.

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