Currently, over 36 million people worldwide are infected with HIV, most of them living in developing countries1. In 2014, 1.2 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses. Combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) has proven to be highly effective to prevent clinical progression and death, but HIV-1 infection is considered a chronic disease and antiretroviral treatment on its own is unable to eradicate the infection. The patients hence necessitate therapy throughout their lives. Moreover, viral resistance development, adverse effects in the medium-long term, and its significant cost are important limitations for lifelong adherence to antiretroviral treatment and for widespread use mainly in developing countries, but also in the developed world. Therefore, for an effective control of the HIV epidemic new cost-effective and viable therapeutic strategies need to be evaluated.
A safe, affordable and scalable cure could address both the individual and public health limitations that are associated with lifelong cART.