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Advances in detection and monitoring of plasma viremia in HIV-infected individuals receiving antiretroviral therapy

Palmer, Saraha,b

Current Opinion in HIV & AIDS: March 2013 - Volume 8 - Issue 2 - p 87–92
doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e32835d80af
NEW ADVANCES IN IMMUNOLOGICAL AND VIROLOGICAL MONITORING: Edited by Alan L. Landay and Tae-Wook Chun

Purpose of review: This review will describe advances in detection and results of monitoring persistent viremia in patients on long-term suppressive therapy. In addition, the review explores the usefulness of these methods in determining the effectiveness of new HIV-1 eradication strategies in purging persistent HIV-1 reservoirs.

Recent findings: Quantification of plasma HIV-1 RNA levels remains essential for determining the success of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in treated patients. Recently, several new platforms with improved sensitivity for quantifying HIV-1 RNA have been developed and the application of these assays has revealed that low-level viremia persists in patients on suppressive therapy. In addition, new technological advances such as digital PCR have been proposed to increase the sensitivity of measuring and characterizing persistent HIV-1 viremia. The application of these assays will be important in determining the effectiveness of future HIV-1 eradication strategies.

Summary: The level of HIV-1 RNA in patient plasma remains an important marker for determining the success of cART. New sensitive assays have found that HIV-1 persists in the plasma of patients on suppressive therapy that may have implications for the clinical management of this disease and strategies for eliminating HIV-1 infection.

aDepartment of Diagnostics and Vaccinology, Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control

bDepartment of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Correspondence to Sarah Palmer, PhD, Westmead Millennium Institute for Medical Research, Darcy Road Westmead, NSW 2145 Australia. Tel: +61 2 9845 9000; e-mail: sarah.palmer@sydney.edu.au

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.