Barriers to HIV remission research in low- and middle-income countries

J Int AIDS Soc. 2017 Jun 5;20(1):21521. doi: 10.7448/IAS.20.1.21521.


Introduction: HIV eradication and remission research has largely taken place in high-income countries. In low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), there may be factors that have a substantial impact on the size of the latent HIV reservoir and the immunological response to infection. If a curative strategy is to be available to all HIV-infected individuals, these factors must be understood.

Methods: We use a scoping review to examine the literature on biological factors that may have an impact on HIV persistence in LMIC. Three databases were searched without date restrictions.

Results: Uncontrolled viral replication and higher coinfection prevalence may alter the immunological milieu of individuals in LMIC and increase the size of the HIV reservoir. Differences in HIV subtype could also influence the measurement and size of the HIV reservoir. Immune activation may differ due to late presentation to care, presence of chronic infections, increased gut translocation of bacterial products and poor nutrition.

Conclusions: Research on HIV remission is urgently needed in LMIC. Research into chronic immune activation in resource poor environments, the immune response to infection, the mechanisms of HIV persistence and latency in different viral clades and the effect of the microbiological milieu must be performed. Geographic differences, which may be substantial and may delay access to curative strategies, should be identified.

Keywords: HIV cure; HIV eradication; HIV remission; immune system; low- and middle-income countries; resource limited.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Coinfection
  • Economics
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Poverty*
  • Prevalence
  • Virus Replication


  • Anti-HIV Agents