Current HIV/AIDS Reports

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 204–213 | Cite as

HIV and the Gut Microbiota: Composition, Consequences, and Avenues for Amelioration

  • Ivan Vujkovic-CvijinEmail author
  • Ma SomsoukEmail author
HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment (AL Landay and NS Utay, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment


Purpose of Review

We discuss recent advances in understanding of gut bacterial microbiota composition in HIV-infected subjects and comment on controversies. We discuss the putative effects of microbiota shifts on systemic inflammation and HIV disease progression and potential mechanisms, as well as ongoing strategies being developed to modulate the gut microbiota in humans for amelioration of infectious and inflammatory diseases.

Recent Findings

Lifestyle and behavioral factors relevant to HIV infection studies have independent effects on the microbiota. Microbial metabolism of immunomodulatory compounds and direct immune stimulation by translocation of microbes are putative mechanisms contributing to HIV disease. Fecal microbiota transplantation, microbial enzyme inhibition, phage therapy, and rationally selected probiotic cocktails have emerged as promising strategies for microbiota modulation.


Numerous surveys of the HIV gut microbiota matched for lifestyle factors suggest consistent shifts in gut microbiota composition among HIV-infected subjects. Evidence exists for a complex pathogenic role of the gut microbiota in HIV disease progression, warranting further study.


Gut microbiota Fecal transplant Engraftment HIV Inflammation 



I.V.C. received support from the Cancer Research Institute Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship Award.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Metaorganism Immunity Section, National Institute of Allergy & Infectious DiseaseNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Division of GastroenterologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

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