HIV Cure Quick Facts
- There is currently no HIV cure. That said, there are antiretroviral medicines that control the virus and give people living with HIV longer healthy lives.
- There is a lot of research looking for a functional cure that reduces the virus to harmless undetectable levels permanently.
- There is also research looking for sterilizing cures which will completely eliminate the HIV virus from the body. The research is, however, risky and complex.
- There are HIV vaccine trials that are encouraging though they currently provide partial protection.
So, Is There a HIV Cure?
It is important to mention that there is no HIV cure yet. However, there is treatment that can control the virus to give people living with HIV longer and healthier lives. Anyone who thinks they have been at risk should go for HIV testing. HIV testing is the only available sure way that can help you know if you have the virus or not.
If you test and turn out positive, it is important to start HIV treatment as soon as possible. This treatment is the best way to deal with the HIV virus. This is because it helps in reducing the risk of the virus advancing to AIDS and reducing the risk of HIV transmission.
Will There Be A HIV Cure?
Scientists and researchers in different medical fields believe that a cure will be found in future. There is a lot of information about HIV and different cancers. There are two main cures that scientists are working on. Some are working on a functional cure while others are working on a sterilizing cure. According to reliable data, there are no HIV herbal or natural cures that work. It is important to mention that there will never be a cure for AIDS because AIDS is not the virus, it is a defining set of symptoms. Let us look at the two cures that are work in progress:
Functional cures are aimed ad suppressing the amount of HIV virus in the body such that they cannot make a person ill or be detectable. There are people who look at the antiretroviral therapy as a functional cure. Well, a functional cure, unlike the antiretroviral therapy, will suppress the virus without the need for a HIV regimen. This, therefore, means that you will only be cured once and there will be no need for daily pills.
Sterilizing HIV Cure
A sterilizing cure is what most people think about when they talk about a cure for HIV. This is because the cure is all about eliminating the HIV virus from the body completely. This also includes all the hidden reservoirs that might have the virus. According to medical records, there is only one person who has been cured in this manner. This person’s name is Timothy Brown, but is popularly known as the ‘Berlin Patient’.
Between 2007 and 2008, Timothy Brown had chemotherapy and underwent a bone marrow transplant as a leukemia treatment. The transplant was from an individual with a HIV genetic resistance. Timothy was cured of HIV but scientists did not understand why. Though this is the case, bone marrow transplants are quite dangerous and are not practical when it comes to the wider scope of HIV cures. However, the case was an important stepping stone for scientists because they are using its details to work on a possible safe cure
Main Approaches In HIV Cure Research
- The main aim is to activate and eradicate which works by flushing the HIV virus from its reservoirs and killing the infected cells.
- There is also gene editing which aims at changing immune cells so that they can resist infection.
- Immune modulation which should work by searching for ways to permanently alter the immune system to give it the strength to fight HIV.
- Stem cell transplants which are supposed to eliminate the infected immune system and replace it with donor cells. This is the most risky and complex approach.
Though there is promising research, there is still no cure yet.
There are a few HIV vaccine trials that show a promising future. However, the trials only have partial protection against the virus. This means that the available vaccines need to combine with other treatment and prevention methods to be effective.
What To Do Until A Cure Is Found
Before a safe and sure cure is available, the best thing to do is to protect yourself and test regularly if you are sexually active. If you are HIV positive, you should start on the HIV treatment immediately and adhere to the prescription to avoid drug resistance. Knowing your status and using the HIV medicines will protect you and others around you.