Background: Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) is effective in suppressing viral replication, HIV-1 persists in reservoirs and rebounds after ART has been stopped. However, a very few people (eg, elite and post-treatment controllers) are able to maintain viral loads below detection limits without ART, constituting a realistic model for long-term HIV remission. Here, we describe the HIV control mechanisms of an individual who showed exceptional post-treatment control for longer than 15 years.
Methods: We report the case of a Hispanic woman aged 59 years with sexually acquired acute HIV infection, who was included in an immune-mediated primary HIV infection trial involving a short course of ciclosporine A, interleukin-2, granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and pegylated interferon alfa, followed by analytical treatment interruption. We did the following viral assays: total and integrated HIV-1 DNA in CD4 T cells and rectal tissue, quantitative viral outgrowth assay, HIV-1 infectivity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and CD4 T-cell cultures and viral inhibitory activity by natural killer (NK) and CD8 T cells. NK and T-cell phenotypes were determined by flow cytometry. HLA, killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors, Δ32CCR5, and NKG2C alleles were genotyped.