We know that very early treatment in acute HIV infection decreases HIV RNA; this study shows it also greatly decreases proviral DNA (and reservoir size). Researchers investigated 2 small cohorts of patients in Thailand with acute (and very early) HIV infection, 1 untreated and 1 treated with ART very early; patients were followed for 144 weeks. They found that DNA integration occurs early and rapidly, and that with early and continued ART, total and integrated HIV DNA drops quickly and continues to decrease over time. "ART reduced total HIV DNA levels by 20-fold after 2 weeks and 316-fold after 3 years. Therefore, very early ART offers the opportunity to significantly reduce the frequency of cells harboring HIV." This has implications for cure strategies (which may be more likely to succeed in patients with low HIV reservoirs) and potentially for patients' health irrespective of attempts at cure.
- Ananworanich J, Chomont N, Eller LA, et al. HIV DNA Set point is rapidly established in acute HIV infection and dramatically reduced by early ART. EBioMedicine. 2016 Jul 20. pii: S2352-3964(16)30330-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.07.024. [Epub ahead of print]