Barriers to HIV Cure

HLA. 2016 Oct;88(4):155-63. doi: 10.1111/tan.12867.


Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 70 million people have been infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and about 38 million have died from acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related illnesses. While the discovery of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in the mid 90's has saved millions of lives, a complete eradication of HIV is still not possible as HIV can persist for decades in a small reservoir of latently infected cells. Once reactivated, these latently infected cells can actively produce viral particles. Recent studies suggest that several sanctuaries exist within infected individuals where HIV can remain undetected by the immune system. These cellular, anatomical and microanatomical viral reservoirs represent a major obstacle for the eradication of HIV. Here we review recent findings on potential sanctuaries of HIV and address potential avenues to overcome these immunological barriers.

Keywords: HIV; cellular barriers; immunological barriers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / drug effects
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / immunology
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / virology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / virology
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / drug effects
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • HIV-1 / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyurea / therapeutic use*
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Lymph Nodes / drug effects
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / virology
  • Male
  • Sertoli Cells / drug effects
  • Sertoli Cells / immunology
  • Sertoli Cells / virology
  • Virus Activation / drug effects*
  • Virus Activation / immunology
  • Virus Latency / drug effects*
  • Virus Latency / immunology


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Hydroxyurea