Treating HIV throughout the body

In order to effectively control HIV, the virus must be suppressed in all parts of the body, not just in the blood where viral load is usually measured. Although some HIV resides in CD4 cells circulating in the bloodstream, it can also hide in the lymph nodes, gut, brain, testicles and other ‘reservoirs’ elsewhere in the body.

This is an important treatment issue because some drugs do not penetrate into these other ‘compartments’, thus allowing HIV to continue to replicate. Having a viral load below 50 copies/ml in the blood does not necessarily mean the virus is also undetectable elsewhere in the body. Even if HIV is suppressed in the blood, the virus can escape from these other areas and start the replication cycle all over again.

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.