Sidaction: viral reservoirs, an important line of research against HIV

Action in favour of Sidaction in Paris (Illustration image). AFP - FRANCOIS GUILLOT

Text by: RFI Follow

2 min

Sidaction takes place this weekend of March 25-26. This fundraising operation aims in particular to support research on AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Certainly, very significant progress has been made in 40 years, but there is no cure. The virus is not eliminated from the body. The obstacle is so-called viral reservoirs, a major line of research.


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Current antiretroviral drugs have become simpler. From several daily pills, we went to one tablet a day. They make it possible to live with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), to make it undetectable in the blood, but not to eradicate it. When treatment is stopped, the virus multiplies. At issue are viral reservoirs. The virus remains lurking in some immune cells.

►Also listen: Sidaction: Bernard has been living with HIV for more than 25 years... and antiretrovirals


The reservoirs of the virus are generally certain types of white blood cells, including T4 lymphocytes, that are the target of the virus. A subpopulation in which the virus remains asleep, completely silent. So it will persist throughout life in these cells," explains Olivier Lambotte, researcher and professor of immunology at Paris-Saclay University.

Several avenues of research

Currently, there is no treatment to remove or control the tanks. But researchers are exploring several avenues. "The first axis is to target the reservoir cell itself, that is to say, to try to find ways to identify it, to kill it, to prevent the virus from coming out. It is to target the reservoir cells themselves, so that with chemotherapy, you will target the cancer cell, continues Olivier Lambotte. There is a second strategy which is to target your own immune system so that it is ultimately the one that does the job and is boosted and optimized, and that it is it that controls the reservoir.


The challenge of reservoir research is to enable HIV-infected people to stop antiretroviral treatment, if not forever, at least for a long time, without the virus multiplying.

• To make a donation to Sidaction, you can go to the website or dial 110.

«There is one aspect that is very important in children, and that is the announcement of HIV status.»

The Sidaction association is conducting its annual donation campaign this weekend. Every year, HIV infects more than 2 million new people worldwide. Today, there are an estimated 35 million people living with HIV, half of whom are unaware of their status. Last year, 40 programmes were run by 30 associations in 18 countries. Hélène Roger, Director of Analysis and Advocacy, explains how Sidaction supports local associations, such as in Côte d'Ivoire.


The SAS center (Centre Solidarité Action Sociale) in Côte d'Ivoire is a reception center for families and HIV-positive people, but also all their entourage. It conducts family screening with paediatricians who are trained specifically for the care of HIV-positive children, for all the support of these children, especially in all that is information on their status. One aspect that is very important in children is the announcement of HIV status, especially in children who are born with HIV. At some point, you have to prepare them for this announcement and explain why they take treatments regularly, etc. And then, they are children who after, too, enter into sexuality. It is necessary to do a lot of support work when they enter into sexual life and they need to set up a system to protect themselves, but especially to protect their partner. It is really the SAS center that is at the origin of the project, and that leads it with our support, both financial and technical.


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  • France
  • AIDS
  • Health and medicine
  • Ivory Coast