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HIV and Inflammation

March 2011

Inflammation has become a major concern of HIV medicine in recent years. Experts now recognize that persistent HIV infection leads to long-term immune activation and chronic inflammation, even among people on antiretroviral therapy (ART) with undetectable viral load. Ultra-sensitive tests show that a small amount of residual HIV remains in the body despite effective treatment, and a growing body of evidence shows that even this low-level virus can cause a range of problems long before a person's CD4 T-cell count falls into the danger zone for opportunistic illness.


Inflammation is a broad term for what happens when the immune system recognizes and responds to a threat. Many different types of immune cells go into action, including macrophages that ingest invaders, CD4 helper T-cells that coordinate the overall immune response, and CD8 killer T-cells that disable virus-infected and malignant cells.

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See Also
Side Effect Chart: An Abbreviated, At-a-Glance Guide to HIV Drug Side Effects
More on HIV Medication Side Effects

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