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Understanding HIV/AIDS

six questions to consider

Harper, Kristin Nicole

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doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000919
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Recently, Jay Levy, Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, published an article entitled ‘Dispelling myths and focusing on notable concepts in HIV pathogenesis’ (Trends in Molecular Medicine 21 : 341–353). In it, he poses six outstanding questions in the field of HIV, with the goal of encouraging novel basic and clinical research approaches: Is HIV infection a universally fatal diagnosis, and what can we learn from individuals who are able to ward off infection or live asymptomatically for years without therapy? Is anti-HIV innate immunity as important as adaptive immunity, and how can we enhance innate immunity to prevent and control infection? How do CD8+ T cells combat HIV, and how important is their noncytotoxic vs cytotoxic antiviral activity? Given the potential long-term toxicity of antiretroviral treatment, should it be initiated in all healthy, infected individuals? What strategies should be considered for an HIV vaccine, and, in primarily focusing on antibodies to neutralize the virus, are we neglecting other important possibilities, such as enhancing the antiviral cellular and innate immune responses to prevent infection? Finally, what approaches for an HIV cure should be encouraged? Pursuing the answers to these questions may yield information essential for controlling, preventing, and potentially curing HIV infection.

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