Impact of Sex-Based Differences on HIV Reservoir Size and Immune Activation

Investigator: Steven Deeks, MD
Sponsor: Massachusetts General Hospital

Location(s): United States


Drs. Scully, Chomont and Deeks will investigate the potential for sex differences to affect how HIV can be cured. Specifically, this team will examine the immune profile, including levels of activation, as well as the distribution of the latent reservoir, in men versus women. These studies are driven by well-known but little understood sex differences in HIV pathogenesis, including lower viral loads, higher CD4 counts and faster disease progression in women. It is also well-known that the immune system of women is on average more activated and activatable than that of men. Despite this, no studies to date have addressed whether there are sex differences in the reservoir that might reasonably result from the sex differences in pathogenesis. Because very few women are included in clinical studies of curative interventions, these studies will shed much-needed light on the need to study women more closely in the search for a cure.