|Institution:||University of Cape Town|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/11180/9620|
Includes abstract. HIV infection is characterized by generalized high levels of systemic immune activation that plays an important role in accelerating the depletion of CD4+ T-cells. Levels of immune activation are higher at mucosal sites like the female genital tract than blood during HIV infection. While initiation of highly active antiretrovirl therapy (HAART) during HIV infection reduces plasma viral load and partially restores CD4+ T-cell numbers, individuals on HAART retain an activated phenotype in blood that is significantly higher than uninfected individuals. The precise mechanisms leading to recruitment and activation of immune cells into the female genital tract during HIV infection and the influence of HAART on activation are not clear. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of HAART on the levels of inflammatory cytokines and immune reconstitution (measured by immune activation, proliferation and exhaustion of T-cells) in the female genital tract compared to blood.