What happens during acute seroconversion of HIV infection?

Updated: Jul 01, 2019
  • Author: Nicholas John Bennett, MBBCh, PhD, MA(Cantab), FAAP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

During this phase, the infection is established and a proviral reservoir is created. [60, 61] This reservoir consists of persistently infected cells, typically macrophages, and appears to steadily release virus. Some of the viral release replenishes the reservoir, and some goes on to produce more active infection.

The proviral reservoir, as measured by DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR), seems to be incredibly stable. Although it does decline with aggressive antiviral therapy, the half-life is such that eradication is not a viable expectation.

The size of the proviral reservoir correlates to the steady-state viral load and is inversely correlated to the anti-HIV CD8+ T-cell responses. Aggressive early treatment of acute infection may lower the proviral load, but generally, treatment in newly infected (but postseroconversion) patients yields no long-term benefit.

At this point, the viral load is typically very high, and the CD4+ T-cell count drops precipitously. With the appearance of anti-HIV antibodies and CD8+ T-cell responses, the viral load drops to a steady state and the CD4+ T-cell count returns to levels within the reference range, although slightly lower than before infection.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!