Very early antiretroviral therapy permits CD8 T cells to keep HIV reservoirs at bay
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is defined by a profound immune dysfunction and an abrogated T cell homeostasis (1). The gradual loss of CD4 T cells is associated with disease progression in the absence of treatment. On the other hand, CD8 T cell count becomes very elevated at the earliest phase of infection and plateaus during the chronic phase up until the very late phase, when major depletion of all T cell subsets occurs (2). In the majority of patients living with HIV, antiretroviral therapy (ART) suppresses HIV replication, reduces the risk for AIDS and non-AIDS events and contributes to an improved health status (3). Usually, an optimal CD4 T cell reconstitution (>500 cells/µL) is achieved a few years after treatment depending on CD4 T cell count at the time of treatment initiation (1).