What about a cure?
ART is really effective treatment, but it is not a cure.
Even people who have an undetectable viral load for years, still have small amounts of HIV in their body. This HIV is mainly in CD4 cells that are resting.
Most of your immune cells are meant to be resting. These cells are not in your blood but in lymph nodes.
The resting cells are like books on the shelves in a reference library. When they become active in response to an infection, it is like someone taking the book they need off the shelves.
The HIV in resting cells is why finding a cure is so difficult. These cells might sleep for 50 years – or wake up at any time. This is why you need to continue taking ART.
Cure research is making exciting progress, though this is likely to still take many years.
Even if a cure takes a long time, if you take your drugs and look after your health, you are likely to live into old age.
Last updated: 1 October 2019.