Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2012

Comments

This article is peer reviewed. The original version is in the journal Clinical and Developmental Immunology; 2012;2012:515962. ©Hindawi Publishing Corporation

Abstract

HAART has significantly changed the natural history of HIV infection: patients receiving antiretrovirals are usually able to control viremia, even though not all virological responders adequately recover their CD4+ count. The reasons for poor immune restoration are only partially known and they include genetic, demographic and immunologic factors. A crucial element affecting immune recovery is immune activation, related to residual viremia; indeed, a suboptimal virological control (i.e., low levels of plasma HIV RNA) has been related with higher levels of chronic inflammation and all-cause mortality. The sources of residual viremia are not yet completely known, even though the most important one is represented by latently infected cells. Several methods, including 2-LTR HIV DNA and unspliced HIV RNA measurement, have been developed to estimate residual viremia and predict the outcome of antiretroviral therapy. Considering that poor immunologic responders are exposed to a higher risk of both AIDS-related and non-AIDS-related diseases, there is a need of new therapeutic strategies, including immunomodulators and drugs targeting the latent viral reservoirs, in order to face residual viremia but also to "drive" the host immunologic responses.