Although nonhuman primate studies have shown that simian immunodeficiency virus/simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SIV/SHIV) exposure during preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with oral tenofovir can induce SIV immunity without productive infection, this has not been documented in humans. We evaluated cervicovaginal IgA in Partners PrEP Study participants using a subtype C primary isolate and found that women on PrEP had IgA with higher average human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-neutralizing magnitude than women on placebo (33% versus 7%; P = 0.008). Using a cutoff of ≥90% HIV-1 neutralization, 19% of women on-PrEP had HIV-1-neutralizing IgA compared to 0% of women on placebo (P = 0.09). We also estimated HIV-1 exposure and found that the proportion of women with HIV-1-neutralizing IgA was associated with the level of HIV-1 exposure (P = 0.04). Taken together, our data suggest that PrEP and high levels of exposure to HIV may each enhance mucosal HIV-1-specific humoral immune responses in sexually exposed but HIV-1-uninfected individuals.
Although there is not yet an effective HIV-1 vaccine, PrEP for at-risk HIV-1-uninfected individuals is a highly efficacious intervention to prevent HIV-1 acquisition and is currently being recommended by the CDC and WHO for all individuals at high risk of HIV-1 acquisition. We previously demonstrated that PrEP use does not enhance peripheral blood HIV-1-specific T-cell responses in HIV-exposed individuals. Here, we evaluate for cervicovaginal HIV-neutralizing IgA responses in genital mucosal secretions of HIV-exposed women, which is likely a more relevant site than peripheral blood for observation of potentially protective immune events occurring in response to sexual HIV-1 exposure for various periods. Furthermore, we assess for host response in the context of longitudinal quantification of HIV-1 exposure. We report that HIV-neutralizing IgA is significantly correlated with higher HIV-1 exposure and, furthermore, that there are more women with HIV-1-neutralizing IgA in the on-PrEP group than in the placebo group.