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This article is the author's final published version in Viruses, Volume 15, Issue 6, June 2023, Article number 1362.

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Copyright © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).


HIV-exposed seronegative individuals (HESIs) are a small fraction of persons who are multiply exposed to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but do not exhibit serological or clinical evidence of HIV infection. In other words, they are groups of people maintaining an uninfected status for a long time, even after being exposed to HIV several times. The long-term non-progressors (LTNPs), on the other hand, are a group of HIV-infected individuals (approx. 5%) who remain clinically and immunologically stable for an extended number of years without combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Meanwhile, elite controllers are comprise a much lower number (0.5%) of HIV-infected persons who spontaneously and durably control viremia to below levels of detection for at least 12 months, even when using the most sensitive assays, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the absence of cART. Despite the fact that there is no universal agreement regarding the mechanisms by which these groups of individuals are able to control HIV infection and/or disease progression, there is a general consensus that the mechanisms of protection are multifaceted and include genetic, immunological as well as viral factors. In this review, we analyze and compare the biological factors responsible for the control of HIV in these unique groups of individuals.

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