Dynamics of plasma virus levels in a cART-treated HIV + individuals. After initiation of cART, viremia undergoes three phases reflecting the decay rates of different populations of HIV-1 latently infected cells. The first phase represents the rapid decay of productively infected CD4+ T cells (activated CD4+ T cells having a half-life of ~1 day). The cells responsible for the second phase, which have a half-life of about 14 days, are not definitively identified (possibly partially activated CD4+ T cells or other cell types such as macropages or dendritic cells). The third phase is a constant phase in which viremia reaches levels below the limit of detection of clinical assays (50 copies viral RNA per ml of plasma). During this plateau phase, occasional viremic episodes (called blips) are detected despite cART. Reservoirs of HIV-1 are responsible for the low but stable level of residual viremia observed during the third phase. This residual viremia is partly derived from the activation of latently infected resting (memory) CD4+ T cells (or subsets of these cells) and partly from another unknown cell source (such as long-lived HIV-infected cells). A rapid rebound of viremia is observed if cART therapy is stopped. Therapeutic strategies achieving control of viremia below detection level after cART cessation could lead to a functional cure. Strategies achieving elimination of HIV-1 from the human body could lead to a sterilizing cure.