Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

HIV & AIDS Health Center

Font Size

New Approach May Flush Out Hard-to-Treat HIV

New HIV Treatment May Eventually Eliminate HIV-Infected Cells in Body

WebMD Health News

Jan. 3, 2005 -- An experimental treatment may help coax out hard-to-treat HIV-infected cells and improve the effectiveness of currently available treatments.

Researchers say recent advances in HIV treatments have lead to dramatic improvements in the health of many HIV-infected people. Many of those now have virtually undetectable HIV levels in their blood.

Yet despite the effectiveness of these treatments at reducing HIV levels, a persistent pool of HIV-infected cells remains and prevents complete elimination of the infection.

In this study, researchers found that an immune system agent known as IL-7 can activate these latent cells and make them more susceptible to HIV drugs.

The results appear in the Jan. 3 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

New Approach May Improve HIV Treatment

In the study, researchers compared the effects of combining IL-7 with HIV drugs in a group of 14 HIV-infected people. All of the participants had virtually undetectable HIV levels in their blood for at least one year before the study began.

The study showed that IL-7 was significantly more effective than other immune system chemicals in reactivating dormant HIV-infected cells that are currently untreatable.

Researchers say IL-7 works by increasing the turnover of latent pools of HIV by activating the cells, which promotes cell death and accelerates the clearance of the virus by HIV drugs.

They say the results indicate IL-7 could potentially be combined with other agents to potentially deplete reservoirs of HIV in the body.

Today on WebMD

How much do you know?
contemplative man
What to do now.
Should you be tested?
HIV under microscope
What does it mean?
HIV AIDS Screening
man opening condom wrapper
HIV AIDS Treatment
Discrimination Stigma
Treatment Side Effects
grilled chicken and vegetables
obese man standing on scale
cold sore