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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Host factors influencing susceptibility to HIV infection and AIDS progression

Juan Lama12* and Vicente Planelles3

Author Affiliations

1 La Jolla Institute for Molecular Medicine, 4570 Executive Drive, Suite 100, San Diego, California 92121, USA

2 RetroVirox, Inc. 4570 Executive Drive, Suite 100, San Diego, California 92121, USA

3 Department of Pathology, University of Utah School of Medicine, 15 North Medical Drive East #2100 – Room 2520, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA

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Retrovirology 2007, 4:52  doi:10.1186/1742-4690-4-52

Published: 25 July 2007

Abstract

Transmission of HIV first results in an acute infection, followed by an apparently asymptomatic period that averages ten years. In the absence of antiretroviral treatment, most patients progress into a generalized immune dysfunction that culminates in death. The length of the asymptomatic period varies, and in rare cases infected individuals never progress to AIDS. Other individuals whose behavioral traits put them at high-risk of HIV transmission, surprisingly appear resistant and never succumb to infection. These unique cases highlight the fact that susceptibility to HIV infection and progression to disease are complex traits modulated by environmental and genetic factors. Recent evidence has indicated that natural variations in host genes can influence the outcome of HIV infection and its transmission. In this review we summarize the available literature on the roles of cellular factors and their genetic variation in modulating HIV infection and disease progression.