14 HIV Patients ‘Functionally Cured’

In a previous report this month, a baby born with HIV was reported cured of the disease through rapid treatment. Now Scientists report that Fourteen people in early stage of the disease were “functionally cured” of HIV using a similar treatment methodology.

Asier Sáez-Cirión of the Pasteur Institute’s unit for regulation of retroviral infections in Paris studied a group of 70 people who began a course of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) between 35 days and 10 weeks after becoming infected with HIV.  All of the patients reviewed had continued with their treatment regime for the duration of three years, on average, but had treatment interrupted and stopped for a variety of reasons. Although the majority relapsed and had to start treatment again, 14 patients were able to remain off the drugs. They have not relapsed in several years since and one patient has even gone a full decade without having to take the medication again so far. Researchers believe starting therapy early over an extended period of time “likely played an important role in reducing the (HIV) reservoirs.”

These 14, like the baby who was reportedly cured earlier this month, were only “functionally cured,” meaning they still had traces of the virus inside them, but it was at a level where the body could starve it off naturally without outside treatment. Therefore, although the patients might be considered “cured,” the disease is not entirely eradicated from their bodies.