BALB/c mice infected 7 weeks previously with Schistosoma mansoni and challenged with a recombinant vaccinia virus vPE16 expressing the human immunodeficiency virus envelope protein gp160 show a marked delay in hepatic viral clearance as compared to mice infected with vPE16 alone. This increase in viral persistence is accompanied by reduced gp120-specific Th1-associated cytokine responses as well as by impaired cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activity against targets expressing epitopes of the same antigen. To investigate the contribution of these defects to the observed delay in clearance of recombinant vaccinia virus, animals were challenged with vPE16 at different times following S. mansoni infection, and virus titers in tissues and viral-specific immune responses were measured simultaneously in the same animals. While normal resolution of virus occurred in schistosome-infected mice prior to parasite egg deposition, persistence within the liver was observed in animals challenged during the onset and peak phase of granuloma formation (6 to 8 weeks after S. mansoni infection). At later times, when schistosomiasis is in its chronic phase, normal viral clearance returned. This time course of viral resolution correlated in part with the observed pattern of decreased Th1 cytokine production toward viral antigens but was clearly less temporally related to the defect in virus-specific CTL activity. Immunohistochemical staining of liver sections from vaccinia/S. mansoni co-infected mice with polyclonal anti-vaccinia antibodies revealed that viral epitopes are localized primarily within granulomas. These experiments suggest that egg granulomas, by providing a microenvironment for viral expansion, in combination with the cytokine imbalance present during schistosome infection, can promote the expansion of vaccinia virus and possibly other viral agents.