The detrimental effects of chronic immune activation, which is the result of HIV infection, have become increasingly clear. Structural damage to the gut is thought to contribute to this immune activation because of microbial translocation—the leakage of endotoxins and other microbial products across the gastrointestinal barrier and into systemic circulation—but the precise mechanisms driving immune activation, and ways to alleviate among HIV-infected individuals is still not clear.

When you have studied HIV’s structure as long as Dennis Burton has, the search for metaphors to describe its unusual architecture becomes irresistible. And so it was that Burton opened his March 22 Keystone Symposia talk by equating the honeycomb of glycans that cover much of HIV’s Envelope protein as HIV’s sweet spot. (Some of us immediately reached for the bowl of candy.)

The Keystone Symposia’s annual meeting on HIV Vaccines, held jointly this year with a meeting on Viral Immunity and Host Gene Influence, kicked off March 21 in Keystone, Colorado, with a keynote about hepatitis A and hepatitis C that could well have been entitled, “A Tale of Two Viruses.”