Residual inflammation and viral reservoirs: alliance against an HIV cure

Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2016 Mar;11(2):234-41. doi: 10.1097/COH.0000000000000230.


Purpose of review: HIV persists in cellular and anatomical reservoirs during antiretroviral therapy (ART). Viral persistence is ensured by a variety of mechanisms including ongoing viral replication and proliferation of latently infected cells. In this review, we summarize recent findings establishing a link between the unresolved levels of inflammation observed in virally suppressed individuals on ART and the mechanisms responsible for HIV persistence.

Recent findings: Residual levels of viral replication during ART are associated with persistent low levels of immune activation, suggesting that unresolved inflammation can promote the replenishment of the HIV reservoir in tissues. In addition, the recent findings that the latent HIV reservoir is maintained by continuous proliferation of latently infected cells provide another mechanism by which residual inflammation could contribute to HIV persistence.

Summary: Residual inflammation during ART is likely to be a critical parameter contributing to HIV persistence. Therefore, reducing inflammation may be an efficient way to interfere with the maintenance of the HIV reservoir in virally suppressed individuals on ART.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections* / immunology
  • HIV-1 / drug effects
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation* / immunology
  • Inflammation* / virology
  • Virus Latency / immunology*


  • Anti-HIV Agents