Cells that are latently infected with HIV-1 preclude an HIV-1 cure, as antiretroviral therapy does not target this latent population. HIV-1 is highly genetically diverse, with over 10 subtypes and numerous recombinant forms circulating worldwide. In spite of this vast diversity, much of our understanding of latency and latency reversal is largely based on subtype B viruses. As such, most of the development of cure strategies targeting HIV-1 are solely based on subtype B. It is currently assumed that subtype does not influence the establishment or reactivation of latent viruses. However, this has not been conclusively proven one way or the other. A better understanding of the factors that influence HIV-1 latency in all viral subtypes will help develop therapeutic strategies that can be applied worldwide. Here, we review the latest literature on subtype-specific factors that affect viral replication, pathogenesis, and, most importantly, latency and its reversal.
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