The AIDS virus is decidedly tricky. While HAART had given great hopes by reducingviral loads of patients as to make them undetectable, the virus has been able to reappear.
The AIDS virus specifically targets certain immune cells, T cells, making the body unable to defend against viruses or even against tumors that product. Today, the HAART arriveto block viral replication, thereby reducing the viral load of patients. However, even though the load becomes undetectable, the virus may remain present in a latent state.
Antonio Valentin and colleagues have shown the existence of a new reservoir for virus, natural killer cells. These cells are involved in the destruction of tumor cells or cells infected by viruses. The AIDS virus can enter and remain safe throughout the treatment period, HAART can not reach it. After stopping treatment, these viruses are able to multiply again and infect other immune cells in the body.
So do not cry victory too soon. Undetectable viral load does not mean a complete disappearance of the virus. Regular monitoring is essential, even after successful treatment with HAART.