Persistent HIV replication in lymphoid tissues refills viral reservoirs during ART, even in patients who have achieved undetectable levels of HIV.
Since the development of reverse transcriptase and protease inhibitors in the 1990s, antiretroviral therapy (ART) has revolutionized HIV treatment. In most patients, current ART regimens suppress HIV to undetectable levels in the blood, halting disease progression and allowing reconstitution of the immune system. However, if a patient stops treatment, the virus quickly reappears, indicating that ART does not eliminate persistent viral reservoirs in the tissues. Are these reservoirs maintained because of the existence of latently infected cells, or because low-level HIV replication persists even during ART?