Why do we lack a cure for HIV infection, and what research is underway to help achieve that goal? A new video from NIAID provides answers.
After HIV infects a cell, it integrates its genetic material into the cell's DNA and uses the cell's machinery to replicate itself. Most HIV-infected cells die after a few months, but a few go into a resting state and survive for years -- even for life. These latently infected cells are called the HIV reservoir. Effective treatment for HIV stops the virus from replicating, but it cannot eliminate the HIV reservoir.
An HIV cure in the classic sense -- meaning it completely removes all HIV from the body -- would need to eradicate the HIV reservoir. A more feasible goal than a classic cure is treatment-free remission. This objective would not involve eradicating the HIV reservoir but rather would allow a person living with HIV to keep the latent virus suppressed without daily medication.
Watch the video to learn more about research toward an HIV cure.