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Has a cure finally been found for HIV?

Has a cure finally been found for HIV?

Miracles do happen!

HIV is one of the ugliest diseases that has ever happened to mankind, and the world has settled with the fact that there might never be a cure for this “mighty” disease. Also, living with it has been made easy with the help of Anti-retroviral drugs.

But is that all? Is there a possibility for a cure? There might just be a silver lining after all.

Find out the progress that has been made so far in this article.

So, you meet someone, good looking, funny, gentle, God-fearing with positive vibes. Every conversation is profound and you wonder where this person has been all your life. After a few weeks of cloud nine, you guys decide to do the horizontal boogie. You’ve heard this person talk, you know how they think. Of course, they are also very smart, so it’ll be impossible for them to be HIV positive. Think again.

You thrust and drink from the deep well that is that person, and it’s everything you hoped it would be. And then the bubble bursts, in the midst of your out of this world commune, your protection had broken. Ah!

Fast forward three months later, you are positive. Oh Lawd!

How would you handle being infected with this virulent masterpiece, knowing that there’s no cure?

Shivering yet?

Now, what if you discover you are immune? Or there’s a cure? 

Amid all these COVID-19 crazes, most people have forgotten about the prevalence of one of the deadliest viruses ever discovered. This virus attacks the immune system, leaving the body vulnerable to opportunistic infections. 

According to the global burden of disease study, about 36.8 million people are living with HIV around the world, with more in Sub-saharan Africa. 

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It’s the virus responsible for the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is incurable, although it is treatable with Antiretroviral Therapy, which is just a fancy name for HIV medicine. This treatment only works to reduce the viral load, so this medicine has to be taken consistently as HIV can replicate massively in a short period. 

A couple of years ago, scientists started experiments with stem cell transplants, as a cure for AIDS. Two people have been cured with these transplants, although scientists have not been able to replicate this success. These two patients are referred to as the Berlin patient and the London patient.

Although that is a big feat, it pales when compared with the fact that two people have been cured of HIV, without these transplants and any form of medical intervention. Miraculous? Yea!

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In 2020, scientists confirmed that a ‘San Francisco patient’, whose name is Loreen Willenberg has the first case of a sterilising cure of HIV without any form of medical intervention.

Loreen Willenberg

Another patient, dubbed the ‘Esperanza patient’, was found to have HIV in 2013. Since 2017, an international team of researchers have been conducting lots of tests on her DNA seeking even the slightest traces of HIV. In 2020, she gave birth, and even her placenta was checked according to STAT.

It was recently confirmed by scientists, in an article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, this past Monday, after sequencing billions of cells, that she is completely HIV free. This marks the second case of HIV cure.

These two patients are a small subset of HIV patients whose immune system naturally suppresses the virus. They are known as elite controllers. 

For the health community, this is a giant step forward, as the answer to HIV could be found in these elite controllers DNA. This means in the years going forward, coupled with stem cell transplants, we might very well have a cure on our hands.

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