The HIV virus can take refuge in the brain even when treated with antiretroviral therapies, only to later infect other organs in the body if that treatment is stopped, a new study in mice and human tissue suggests.

Untreated HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, cripples the immune system and leaves the body vulnerable to life-threatening illness. Combination antiretroviral therapy, or cART, can significantly lower concentrations of the virus in the body, to the point that the pathogen can become undetectable, symptoms largely disappear and the treated person is no longer infectious to others. But cART must be taken daily, and if treatment pauses, the virus may reemerge from hidden sanctuaries in the body. 



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