Where does HIV go?

Question

Hi there. I would like to know where the HIV goes when treatment (Atripla, for example) is started and the viral load diminishes. Where do these diminishing viruses go? Are they destroyed? Thank you for your reply.

Answer

Antiretroviral drugs like Atripla prevent new active viruses from being produced. Current drugs do not kill resting or integrated (virus converted to DNA form and buried in human DNA). So when the virus level goes to undetectable, resting virus (deep in tissues and resting cell) or integrated virus (DNA form) still persists (and persists in cells that can live for many years/decades), generally not doing much harm to the immune system in that state and allowing the body to try and recover from the damage caused by actively growing virus. KH