Once considered an inevitable consequence of HIV treatment, drug resistance is declining. This decline supports the hypothesis that antiretroviral therapy can arrest replication and prevent the evolution of resistance. Further support comes from excellent clinical outcomes, the failure of treatment intensification to reduce residual viremia, the lack of viral evolution in patients on optimal therapy, pharmacodynamics studies explaining the extraordinarily high antiviral activity of modern regimens, and recent reports of potential cures. Evidence supporting ongoing replication includes higher rates of certain complications in treated patients and an increase in circular forms of the viral genome after intensification with integrase inhibitors. Recent studies also provide an explanation for the observation that some patients fail protease-inhibitor based regimens without evidence for resistance.
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