Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a slowly replicating virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This disease occurs when HIV infects vital immune cells causing the immune system to become slowly impaired and eventually to fail. As a consequence, life-threatening infections and cancers have the ability to grow in the body.
Feinstein Institute researchers are studying how the body’s immune system responds to HIV infection and how the virus is able to escape or weaken many of the natural defense mechanisms. These studies are leading to the development of new therapeutic strategies to improve immune function in HIV 1-infected individuals. In addition, researchers are studying the effect of HIV infection on kidney function, and the role of vitamin D deficiency in HIV associated kidney lesions.