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British Man Cured of HIV/AIDS; Can We Celebrate Now or Later?

( [email protected] ) Oct 04, 2016 09:42 AM EDT
One thing that honestly doesn't get near enough spotlight as it did back in the eighties and nineties is HIV/AIDS.  It used to be thought of as a death sentence, but there has been medical advances for it in the last decade.  In fact, there have been some powerful strides in it as a British man is reported to have been cured of HIV/AIDS.  However, we might be celebrating too soon for an actual cure for HIV/AIDS.
Timothy Ray Brown, the only known HIV cure; Are more on the way? Getty Images

One thing that honestly doesn't get near enough spotlight as it did back in the eighties and nineties is HIV/AIDS.  It used to be thought of as a death sentence, but there has been medical advances for it in the last decade.  In fact, there have been some powerful strides in it as a British man is reported to have been cured of HIV/AIDS.  However, we might be celebrating too soon for an actual cure for HIV/AIDS.

There are many reports that a 44-year-old London man has become the first person to be cured of HIV using a new treatment technique, but the International Business Times reports that while the virus is "undetectable" in the man's blood, it is still in the very early days and researchers will need to continue to carry out tests for the next five years, at which time the man will remain on anti-retroviral therapy. 

So, it probably is too early to celebrate about the cure for HIV/AIDS just yet.  Apparently, this is part of a study from Oxford University, KCL, Imperial , UCL and Cambridge University following the therapy on 50 people who live with HIV. 

According to Ubergizmo, the man is a part of a study with a "kick and kill" trial where he was first given a vaccine to help his immune system detect infected cells, after that he takes a medicine known as Vorinostat that activates the dormant infected cells that would have otherwise not been caught by the medicine. 

Once this has been accomplished, it really is all about the healthy parts of the man's immune system to help kill off all of the HIV, so it should take care of the infection in the man's body.  As for the one man, it is possible that his conventional HIV medicine could have contributed to his clean bill of health. 

According to Live Science, only one person has been cured of HIV, which is the "Berlin patient" Timothy Ray Brown, but no one is certain which aspect of Brown's treatment actually cured him.  Brown's HIV, which was expunged in 2007, was based on a treatment in Germany for leukemia. 

Brown first underwent radiation to kill the cancer cells and stem cells in his bone marrow, and then received a bone-marrow transplant from a healthy donor.  There is a new experiment on monkeys providing more evidence that a rare genetic mutation in the person who donated bone marrow to Brown had a central role in his cure. 

It will take months to confirm again whether that HIV will remain in that patient's system.  If that is the case, then tests could take another 5 years.  This means that it could be a while before we see that cure for HIV/AIDS that we want to see, but this is a hopeful step along the way.