The world recently looked up and said, “Whoa,” as the medical field announced the first ever child to be “functionally cured” of the HIV virus. The hope for the virus’ eventual eradication skyrocketed. I can’t imagine how well received this news is going to be.
According to an article in New Scientist, 14 adults have now been “cured” of HIV, and while it isn’t the end-all, be-all of medical miracles, but it’s further proof that the earlier the virus is treated, the better. That seems like an obvious piece of advice, but the majority of those suffering don’t know they’re infected until after the virus is well into its cell destruction. Beyond that, the drugs aren’t guaranteed to work on all adults, so there still won’t be a universally applicable treatment for quite some time. However, it did work on some of them, and that’s pretty fucking amazing.
Years ago, Asier Sáez-Cirión of the Pasteur Institute’s unit for regulation of retroviral infections in Paris headed a study that analysed 70 patients with HIV who were treated with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) early on in their diagnosis — between 36 days and 10 weeks after the infection began. For one reason or another — personal choice or drug protocol changes, to name a few — all 70 of those studied had their drug treatments interrupted. When that happened, most of them relapsed and the virus quickly bounced back to pre-treatment levels.