The humoral and genital secretory immune response to chronic SIV infection was compared between female Rhesus macaques inoculated by i.v. or intravaginal routes. Total IgG levels in serum were 10-fold higher in SIV-infected animals when compared with uninfected controls. Vaginal washes from normal macaques contained predominantly IgA and IgG, while those from SIV-infected animals contained high levels of IgG. The SIV-infected animals had high titres of SIV-specific IgG in serum, with lower but detectable IgA and IgM responses. The genital secretory immune response to SIV was similar in intravenously and intravaginally inoculated animals. The anti-SIV response in the vaginal washes consisted mainly of IgG. Within the lamina propria of the reproductive tract of animals chronically infected with SIV there were essentially no IgA or IgG plasma cells and only a small number of IgM plasma cells, while two normal animals had large numbers of IgA plasma cells. These results suggest that the mucosal immune system of the female reproductive tract is impaired in chronic SIV infection.