Understanding HIV latency: the road to an HIV cure

Annu Rev Med. 2015:66:407-21. doi: 10.1146/annurev-med-092112-152941.


Treatment with antiretroviral therapy dramatically increases the survival of HIV-infected individuals. However, treatment has to be continued for life because it does not lead to the full eradication of infection. HIV persists in resting CD4(+) T cells, and possibly other cell types, and can reemerge from these cells when therapy is interrupted. Here, we review molecular mechanisms that have been proposed to contribute to HIV latency, as well as the relative roles of cis- and trans-acting mechanisms. We also discuss existing and future therapeutic opportunities regarding HIV latency that might lead to a future cure for HIV infection.

Keywords: HIV-1; Tat; lymphocyte; quiescence; transcription.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / virology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / metabolism
  • HIV-1 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • RNA, Viral*
  • Virus Latency / physiology*


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • RNA, Viral