HIV/AIDS Glossary

Shock and Kill Strategy

Synonym(s): Kick and Kill Strategy, Kick-Kill Strategy, Shock-Kill Strategy

An experimental strategy to cure HIV infection that is currently under investigation. Finding a cure for HIV is challenging because the virus can remain hidden and inactive (latent) inside certain cells of the immune system (such as CD4 cells) for months or even years. While HIV is in this latent state, the immune system cannot recognize the virus, and antiretroviral therapy (ART) has no effect on it. The shock and kill strategy is a two-step process. First, drugs called latency-reversing agents are used to reactivate latent HIV hiding in immune cells (the "shock"). The reactivated cells can then be targeted and killed by the body's immune system or anti-HIV drugs.

Related Term(s): Latency-Reversing Agents, Latent HIV Reservoir

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