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For The Second Time In History, A Person Has Been ‘Cured’ Of HIV

Doctors have managed to ‘cure’ a man living with HIV. It’s only the second time ever since the disease’s outbreak that it’s happened.

The patient received stem cells three years ago from an HIV-resistant donor and then went off his medication that is meant to keep the disease from growing inside the body, also known as antiretroviral treatment or ART.

June 13, 2018 – Agartala, Tripura, India – A blood drop from a tribal woman..A health worker is collecting blood samples from tribal women and preserving them as the samples will go for HIV testing in a free health campaign organized by a private concern in the outskirts of Agartala, capital of the northeastern state of Tripura. (Credit Image: © Abhisek Saha/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire)

According to the ABC, highly sensitive tests have since shown that there is now no HIV detected in his system.

HIV biologist who co-led a team of doctors treating the man, Ravindra Gupta, said that it’s too early to say whether he is officially cured of the disease, but did go as far as saying he was ‘functionally cured’ and ‘in remission’.

The patient contracted the disease in 2003 and was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2012.

It was only in 2016 that he was able to access the stem cell donation because he was seeking treatment for the cancer, not the HIB. Doctors haven’t been clear on why the patient hadn’t started ART when he was diagnosed with the disease.

November 30, 2017 – Kolkata, West Bengal, India – Supporters of Thalassaemia and AIDS .Prevention Society take parts in a special awareness program on eradication of HIV/AIDS and its stigma, panic, and discrimination from our society on the eve of World AIDS Day on November 30, 2017 in Kolkata, India. World AIDS Day is celebrated worldwide on December 1st of every year to raise the awareness in the fight against HIV. (Credit Image: © Sanjay Purkait/Pacific Press via ZUMA Wire)

The donor had genetic mutation known as CCR5 delta 32, a gene that provides a resistance against HIV.

Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the HIV/AIDS division at the National Institutes of Health, told the Daily Mail, we shouldn’t expect this type of treatment to become the stock standard for people wanting a cure.

“If I have Hodgkin’s disease or myeloid leukaemia,” he said, “that’s going to kill me anyway, and I need to have a stem cell transplant, and I also happen to have HIV, then this is very interesting.

“But this is not applicable to the millions of people who don’t need a stem cell transplant.”

The unidentified man now joins Timothy Ray Brown, also known as The Berlin Patient, the only other person to be cured of HIV.

Timothy Ray Brown poses for a photograph, Monday, March 4, 2019, in Seattle. Brown, also known as the “Berlin patient,” is the first person to be cured of HIV infection. Now researchers are reporting a second patient has lived 18 months after stopping HIV treatment without sign of the virus following a stem-cell transplant. But such transplants are dangerous, cannot be used widely and have failed in other patients. (AP Photo/Manuel Valdes)

He was diagnosed with the disease in 1995 and started antiretroviral treatment. The American was afflicted with acute myeloid leukemia and received a stem cell transplant from a donor with the same CCR5 delta 32 gene.

Three months after his first treatment, the HIV in his body dropped dramatically and he was soon listed as undetectable.

He still doesn’t take antiretroviral treatment, the treatment that most people with HIV take, and yet he remains essentially cured.

While this new patient might not unlock the cure to a disease that has killed millions of people, it does give hope to researchers that it is possible in some circumstances.

Source: LadBible