Although combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) has reduced mortality and improved lifespan for people living with HIV, it does not provide a cure. Patients must be on ART for the rest of their lives and contend with side effects, unsustainable costs, and the development of drug resistance. A cure for HIV is, therefore, warranted to avoid the limitations of the current therapy and restore full health. However, this cure is difficult to find due to the persistence of latently infected HIV cellular reservoirs during suppressive ART. Approaches to HIV cure being investigated include boosting the host immune system, genetic approaches to disable co-receptors and the viral genome, purging cells harboring latent HIV with latency-reversing latency agents (LRAs) (shock and kill), intensifying ART as a cure, preventing replication of latent proviruses (block and lock) and boosting T cell turnover to reduce HIV-1 reservoirs (rinse and replace). Since most people living with HIV are in Africa, methods being developed for a cure must be amenable to clinical trials and deployment on the continent. This review discusses the current approaches to HIV cure and comments on their appropriateness for Africa.
- HIV cure
- HIV latency