Right from the time it was first discovered in the homosexual community of US in the early 1980s, HIV was unstoppable. It spread globally and took a heavy toll on people living in poor African countries. Attempts to find a cure to HIV proved futile as the virus hid in the remote areas of the body which are difficult to reach with drugs.

cure to hiv

But in early 2013, Dr. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins University announced that one of her patient was cured of HIV. This news shook the medical world as it was just the second person to be cured of HIV and the first to be cured with drugs. The girl aged two-and-half-years was born with HIV which was transfered from her mother. She was immediately put on anti-retroviral drugs and treated continuously for 18 months. The treatment was halted for 5 months as the girl was not reachable by the doctors. When the girl was brought back to the notice of the doctors, she was HIV free. Repeated tests on the girl even six months later didn’t find HIV in her body.

The only other person who was cured of HIV was Timothy Ray Brown (nicknamed as ‘Berlin Patient’). Brown was cured when his bone marrow was replaced while undergoing treatment for leukaemia. Does this all mean that HIV if finally curable now?

Brown’s case was a clinical rarity and can’t be replicated for every person infected with HIV. Similarly, the efficacy of drugs in curing HIV completely is yet to be established. More evidence of people cured of HIV with drugs, at least among the newborns,  is necessary before it is commonly adopted. Finding a vaccine for HIV is also proving to be very challenging dueto the peculiar nature of the Virus.

cure to hiv

Availability of cheap drugs made HIV/AIDS a chronic disease rather than life threatening. Treatment of HIV positive people with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) early on increases their life expectancy by 20 – 50 years. This is substantially higher than the average 10 years of life expectancy for HIV positive people who don’t receive any treatment. Delay in treatment of HIV might put the patient’s life in risk.

HIV is certainly a treatable and has become a more manageable disease like diabetes and cardiac ailments. But a permanent cure or a vaccine to HIV is still some way off. Nevertheless, the recent medical advancements mean that some faint light is already visible.