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Recombinant human colony-stimulating factor-1-treated human peripheral blood-derived monocytes-macrophages are efficient host cells for recovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from blood leukocytes of patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. These cells can be maintained as viable monolayers for intervals exceeding 3 months. Infection with HIV resulted in virus-induced cytopathic effects, accompanied by relatively high levels of released progeny virus, followed by a prolonged low-level release of virus from morphologically normal cells. In both acutely and chronically infected monocytes, viral particles were seen budding into and accumulating within cytoplasmic vacuoles. The number of intravacuolar virions far exceeded those associated with the plasma membrane, especially in the chronic phase, and were concentrated in the perinuclear Golgi zone. In many instances, the vacuoles were identified as Golgi elements. Fusion of virus-laden vacuoles with primary lysosomes was rare. The pattern of cytoplasmic assembly of virus was observed with both HIV types 1 and 2 and in brain macrophages of an individual with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome encephalopathy. Immunoglobulin-coated gold beads added to acutely infected cultures were segregated from the vacuoles containing virus; relatively few beads and viral particles colocalized. The assembly of HIV virions within vacuoles of macrophages is in contrast to the exclusive surface assembly of HIV by T lymphocytes. Intracytoplasmic virus hidden from immune surveillance in monocytes-macrophages may explain, in part, the persistence of HIV in the infected human host.