When a person is on antiretroviral therapy (ART) which blocks HIV particles from infecting cells, where do those particles go? Do they die out while floating in the bloodstream? I particularly want to understand if this is the reason viral loads go down once a person starts ART.

  • $\begingroup$ What do you qualify as dying? It's questionable whether to call viruses "alive". $\endgroup$ – Harris Sep 27 '16 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ I mean infectious by alive. Sorry for the terminology $\endgroup$ – Weezy Sep 27 '16 at 20:07

I've learnt that our circulatory system can clear foreign matters from blood stream. Phagocytes can engulf and breakdown virions. Our liver and spleen is the blood filter system, which sequesters foreign matters all the time. So free floating HIV virions can't stay indefinitely in our blood stream.

However, without an effective adaptive immune response, these mechanisms are still unable to suppress viral replication. That's why HIV patients still have high viral load if untreated.

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