AIDS and HIV have, for decades, plagued this earth. Decades ago, no treatment was available to slow the fatal disease. Then, in the late 1980s, doctors discovered a treatment know as HAART emerged, promising the ability to live a full life with the virus. Now, discussion of a cure is on the horizon.
Medical breakthroughs discovered years ago that people with a genetic mutation known as CCR5 delta 32 were actually very resistant to HIV. Through the use of cells from a CCR5 delta 32 donor, one man’s doctor discovered a cure. Now, Timothy Ray Brown, once an HIV positive American man, has become the only person on the entire planet to be truly cured of AIDS.
While many doctors and scientists agree that the procedure, which was very expensive and very risky, is not practical, it does at least show that a cure is possible. As such, the International AIDS Society will formally add finding a cure to its HIV strategy. Until now, the idea of a cure was almost unspeakable. Now, it is becoming a priority focus.
One of the biggest problems with HIV is that it goes deep into the immune system’s T-cells where current drugs can’t reach it. The virus can remain there forever. In order to cure HIV, doctors must cause the virus to “wake up.” A cancer drug, called SAHA or vorinostat, has shown potential to do just that. Doctors hope that, if the virus can be drawn out of the T-cells by SAHA, a cure can be administered.
For now, AIDS remains technically incurable, and HIV treatment remains the best approach to the contracted virus. Doctors are still keeping prevention on the front line while working on a cure that is sustainable and reproducible. Until then, Timothy Ray Brown remains the only human ever anywhere to be cured of HIV.