The simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-rhesus macaque model of heterosexual human immunodeficiency virus transmission consists of atraumatic application of cell-free SIVmac onto the intact vaginal mucosa of mature female rhesus macaques. This procedure results in systemic infection, and eventually infected animals develop the clinical signs and pathologic changes of simian AIDS. To achieve 100% transmission with the virus stocks used to date, multiple intravaginal inoculations are required. The current titration study utilized two stocks of SIVmac and demonstrated that a single intravaginal dose of cell-free SIV can reliably produce infection in rhesus macaques. This study also demonstrated that some animals intravaginally inoculated with cell-free SIVmac develop transient viremia characterized by a limited ability to isolate virus from peripheral blood mononuclear cells and lymph node mononuclear cells and no seroconversion to SIV antigen. SIV could be isolated from the peripheral lymph nodes of transiently viremic animals only during periods of viremia and not at times when SIV was not detected in circulating mononuclear cells. Thus, peripheral lymphoid tissues were not reservoirs of infection in the transiently viremic animals. Taken together, these results suggest either that the SIV infection was cleared in the transiently viremic animals or that SIV infection is limited to a compartment of the genital mucosal immune system that cannot be assessed by monitoring SIV infection in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and peripheral lymphoid tissue.