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Long-term nonprogressors are a group of individuals who are infected with HIV, but whose infection does not progress to AIDS. The elite controllers are a subset of this group who show an ability to suppress the HIV viral load to extremely low, often undetectable levels for an indefinite length of time. Some have been HIV positive for 30 years without developing the clinical symptoms of AIDS, despite the fact that they have never been been treated. These individuals have been the subject of a great deal of research, as it is presumed that an understanding of their ability to control HIV infection may lead to better anti-HIV drugs or a vaccine against HIV.
Additional recommended knowledge
It is estimated that as many as 1 in 100 people are long-term nonprogessors, and as many as 1 in 300 are elite controllers. Since many of the individuals never develop the symptoms of AIDS, it is believed many of them do not know they are infected. 
It is currently not known why long-term nonprogressors and elite controllers do not progress to full-blown AIDS. However, it has been shown that they are not simply infected with a weakened or inactive form of HIV. Many theories have been put forth suggesting the underlying mechanism of their resistance to infection. Most point to an inherited genetic trait that confers greater resistance or more robust immune response to HIV infection.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Long-term_nonprogressors". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|