There is an intense interplay between HIV and the immune system, and the literature is replete with studies describing various immunological phenomena associated with HIV infection. Many of these phenomena seem too broad in scope to be attributable either to HIV-infected cells or to the HIV-specific immune response. Recently, a more fundamental understanding of how HIV affects various T cells and T cell compartments has emerged. This review covers the role of immune activation in HIV immunopathogenesis, how that activation could be mediated directly by HIV replicating within and damaging the gut mucosal barrier, how HIV affects multiple T cell functions and phenotypes, and how chronic HIV replication induces immune modulatory pathways to negatively regulate certain functions in HIV-specific T cells.
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