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Why does virus not die out under HAART
May 19, 2010

Hi there, I did start the standard medication norvir+prezista+truvada when my doctor sais "It does not make sense to wait longer". I had a lot of questions of which many found answers here - thank you very much for that. So I recommended thebody.com to a lot of people ... Though questions remain: Is there any such thing as advantageous side effects of HAART? I can imagine that the body would benefit if other viruses are being blocked etc.

Given a HAART and the viral load is undetectable, why does the virus not "die out" (I mean faces extinction)? As every cells life is limited to some years time and the new helper cells cannot be infected, can they?

thanks a lot

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

1. The only advantageous side effect of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is that by decreasing HIV viral replication, the immune system recovers somewhat (although not all the way). Other than that, nope!

2. HIV can hide in places HAART can't get to. It can also incorporate itself into very long-lived memory cells. The "die out" process, because of these very long-lived cells, would take many decades.

3. Low-level viral replication, below the level of detection of our testing assays, continues, even in HIVers who have "undetectable" viral loads. Consequently new cells can and do become infected.

Dr. Bob



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