Combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) can suppress plasma HIV to undetectable levels, allowing HIV-infected individuals who are treated early a nearly normal life span. Despite the clear ability of ART to prevent morbidity and mortality, it is not curative. Even in individuals who have full suppression of viral replication on ART, there are resting memory CD4+ T cells that harbor stably integrated HIV genomes, which are capable of producing infectious virus upon T cell activation. This latent viral reservoir is considered the primary obstacle to the development of an HIV cure, and recent efforts in multiple areas of HIV research have been brought to bear on the development of strategies to eradicate or develop a functional cure for HIV. Reviews in this series detail progress in our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of viral latency, efforts to accurately assess the size and composition of the latent reservoir, the characterization and development of HIV-targeted broadly neutralizing antibodies and cytolytic T lymphocytes, and animal models for the study HIV latency and therapeutic strategies.
Janet D. Siliciano, Robert F. Siliciano