HIV, the cause of AIDS, has long been considered an incurable disease. However, over the years, significant advances have been made in HIV treatment, allowing some people to fully recover from the disease.
Curing HIV is rare, but possible. There are documented cases of people recovering from HIV either spontaneously or with specific treatment. Scientists are studying these recovery cases to learn more about the virus and find new ways to treat it.
Berlin patient: first person cured of HIV
One of the most famous cases is the rescue of Timothy Brown, also known as the “Berlin Patient”. Brown, who had been HIV positive since 1995, received a bone marrow transplant in 2007 to treat leukemia.
The bone marrow donor had a rare genetic mutation that made his immune cells resistant to HIV. After the transplant, Brown stopped taking his HIV medication and tested negative for the virus. Today, more than ten years later, he still has HIV.
The London patient: a similar case
Another documented case of the recovery of a person known as the “London Patient”. Like Brown, the London patient had leukemia and received a bone marrow transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that gave him natural resistance to HIV.
After the transplant, the patient stopped taking his HIV medications and tested negative for the virus.
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The Dusseldorf patient: confirmation
Both suffered from both HIV infection and leukemia, as did the Düsseldorf patient. The third patient who was officially cured received a bone marrow transplant whose cells carried a specific genetic mutation: the goal was to treat both diseases at the same time.
There are two reported cases of possible cures, including last year’s “New York patient,” but have yet to be published.