Antiretroviral therapy can inhibit HIV replication in patients and prevent progression to AIDS. However, it is not curative. Here we provide an overview of what antiretroviral drugs do and how the virus persists during therapy in rare reservoirs, such as latently infected CD4+ T cells. We also outline several innovative methods that are currently under development to eradicate HIV from infected individuals. These strategies include gene therapy approaches intended to create an HIV-resistant immune system, and activation/elimination approaches directed towards flushing out latent virus. This latter approach could involve the use of novel chemically synthesized analogs of natural activating agents.
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