HIV Specific CD8+ T cell Responses in Infected Infants Enrolled on a Study of

Christina Thobakgale, Thumbi Ndung'u


There is an alarming increase in pediatric HIV infections world-wide and this implies that children will be subjected to the toxic effects of anti-retroviral drugs from infancy or die within 5-8 years. Structured treatment interruption offers an opportunity to boost the immune system by augmentation of CTL and T helper responses important in the eradication of the virus.  Preliminary data shows the broadening of CTL responses in subjects undergoing treatment interruption compared to no responses in subjects undergoing continuous treatment.  It is hypothesized that CTL responses in subjects undergoing continuous treatment will be evident after withdrawal of the drugs but will not be expected to be of high magnitude as these subjects are not expected to have a high viral rebound after 12 months of treatment.  Subjects undergoing treatment interruption are expected to control the virus due to build-up in immune responses following several STI-HAART cycles