The success of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for HIV-1 infection has sparked interest in mechanisms by which the virus can persist despite effectively suppressive therapy. Latent HIV-1 reservoirs established early during infection not only prevent sterilizing immunity but also represent a major obstacle to virus eradication. When HIV-1 gains a foothold in the immunologic memory or in certain inaccessible compartments of the human body, it cannot be easily purged by HAART and is able to replenish systemic infection on treatment interruption. Because latently infected cells are indistinguishable from uninfected cells, deliberate activation of latent infection combined with intensified HAART seems to be the best strategy to combat latent infection. Initial hypothesis-driven clinical trials did not achieve their ultimate goal, although they provided valuable insight for the design of future eradication protocols. A more detailed understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying the establishment and long-term maintenance of HIV-1 reservoirs will be critical in developing new eradication approaches.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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