HIV/AIDS Glossary

Latent HIV Reservoir

Synonym(s): Reservoir

Resting CD4 cells (or other cells) that are infected with HIV but not actively producing HIV. Latent HIV reservoirs are established during the earliest stage of HIV infection. Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) can reduce the level of HIV in the blood to an undetectable level, latent reservoirs of HIV continue to survive. When a latently infected cell is reactivated, the cell begins to produce HIV again. Although ART can suppress HIV levels, ART cannot eliminate latent HIV reservoirs. For this reason, ART cannot cure HIV infection.

Related Term(s): Viral Latency

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