While most people with HIV experience significant destruction of their immune systems, some
people appear to have preserved immune function and can control the virus without drugs.
Early treatment with anti-HIV drugs may help preserve the immune system, allowing it to
control the virus once the drugs are stopped. This study will evaluate the immune system
response of HIV infected people who are treated with anti-HIV drugs soon after being
Studies have identified a potent CD4 T helper (Th) cell response in some infected people,
and have shown a correlation between virus-specific Th cells and low levels of viremia.
Early institution of potent antiviral therapy in the earliest stages of acute HIV infection
have led to strong Th cell responses, analogous to those seen in people who are able to
control viremia in the absence of antiviral therapy. This may be because potent antiviral
therapy is able to protect virus-specific Th cells as they become activated, and thus these
cells are not lost in the earliest stages of infection. This study will characterize the
immune response of patients with acute HIV infection who receive antiretroviral therapy and
will determine the effects of interruption of therapy in those people who have immune
responses to HIV that are similar to patients with long-term non-progressing infection.
Participants in this study will be followed through June 2004. Study visits vary from only
once to every month and are scheduled at the discretion of the study officials. Study
visits include an interview and blood tests.
- Acute HIV infection