Low Cholesterol Helps HIV Immunity: A Link that can Prevent AIDS Progression

With current HIV therapies, those who are HIV-positive can live for decades without the infection progressing to AIDS. The antiretroviral treatments given today greatly improve the quality of life for many. In the past, once a person became infected with HIV, it would only take 1-2 years for the infection to take hold and overwhelm the immune system. High mortality rates were a direct result of this quick-moving process. After decades of meticulous study, research and record-keeping, certain links have been discovered that could help fight off the infection within the body, namely low cholesterol helps HIV immunity.

While the average person once infected with HIV would manifest with AIDS quickly if left untreated, there is a small percentage of the population that could avoid this. Some could go as long as 10 years or more without HIV progressing to AIDS. Through careful documentation, the link may have been discovered. The common denominator seems to be low levels of cholesterol in certain immune system cells. The interesting part is that this level has nothing to do with blood cholesterol levels. It appears to be an inherent trait and is present even before an infection takes place. Seeing as HIV needs cholesterol within the cells to invade and replicate, low cholesterol helps HIV immunity by greatly slowing down the virus. The result is better protection against HIV and prevention of AIDS. 

While researchers are not exactly sure how this works or why some have this trait, they are hopeful. By investigating further, a new way to treat and prevent AIDS could come about in the near future. The premise that low cholesterol helps HIV immunity has taken over a decade to deduce. Thanks to the painstaking tasks of monitoring and documenting what was observed through the years, these results could mean even better treatment options for those who are HIV-positive and possibly even help in preventing an initial infection.