US researchers have found that HIV is able to hide in some of the body's cells for years in order to avoid destruction by antiretroviral drugs.
The finding confirms that HIV-positive people must take the drugs indefinitely to maintain control of the virus, which causes Aids, BBC News reported.
The US National Cancer Institute team followed 40 HIV-positive patients and found that 77 percent of them still had low levels of dormant HIV seven years after starting - and responding well to - antiretroviral therapy.
HIV hiding in CD4+ cells?
The researchers believe that HIV hides in CD4+ cells, which play a role in the immune system. It's likely that HIV infects these cells before the start of antiretroviral therapy and the amount of virus produced by the infected cells is low.
The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"It is extremely important that new drugs are developed to eradicate HIV infection as the side effects associated with long-term HIV treatment can be severe," said researcher Dr Sarah Palmer. – (HealthDay News)
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