Antiretroviral therapy has been a spectacular success. People are now asking if the end of AIDS is possible. For those who are motivated to take therapy and who have access to lifelong treatment, AIDS-related illnesses are no longer the primary threat, but a new set of HIV-associated complications have emerged, resulting in a novel chronic disease that for many will span several decades of life.
Treatment does not fully restore immune health; as a consequence, a number of inflammation-associated and/or immunodeficiency complications such as cardiovascular disease and cancer are increasing in importance. Cumulative toxicities from exposure to antiretroviral drugs for decades cause clinically-relevant metabolic disturbances and end-organ damage
There are growing concerns that the multi-morbidity associated with HIV disease may impact healthy aging and could overwhelm some health care systems, particularly those in resource-limited regions that have yet to fully develop a chronic care model. Given the problems inherent in treating and caring for a chronic disease that might persist for several decades, a global effort to identify a cure is now underway.