BACKGROUND: Tissue resident memory T cells (TrM) provide an enhanced response against infection at mucosal surfaces, yet their function has not been extensively studied in humans, including the female genital tract (FGT). METHODS: Using polychromatic flow cytometry, we studied TrM cells, defined as CD62L-CCR7-CD103+CD69+ CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in mucosa-derived T cells from healthy and HIV-positive women. RESULTS: We demonstrate that TrM are present in the FGT of healthy and HIV-positive women. The expression of the mucosal retention receptor, CD103, from HIV-positive women was reduced compared to healthy women and was lowest in women with CD4 counts < 500 cells/mm3. Furthermore, CD103 expression on mucosa-derived CD8+ T cells correlated with antigen-specific IFN-γ production by mucosal CD4+ T cells and was inversely correlated with T-bet from CD8+CD103+ mucosa-derived T cells. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that CD4+ T cells, known to be impaired during HIV-1 infection and necessary for the expression of CD103 in murine models, may play a role in the expression of CD103 on resident T cells from the human FGT.