What does the latest cure case mean for me?
Hi, I heard the news about the UK patient who might be cured and I want to know whether this means a cure is closer for me. I started HIV meds 6 years ago and my VL is undetectable on one pill a day.
Thanks for your question. The media response to the new case has been so intense that for various reasons this case has become headline news before the study has even been presented at a conference. (See here for a technical report of the case).
Although the results are exciting many of the reports underestimate just how difficult and risky this treatment was.
This person was only able to try this because they had an advanced cancer that had not responded to other treatments. Over the last ten years, many of the other people who have tried this approach have died either as complications of the procedures or because it didn’t work at curing the cancer.
This person is mainly lucky that their cancer is now is cured. Then, almost as a bonus, they also became HIV negative.
Also, although this person will hopefully be cured, even the doctors are saying that longer follow-up is needed before they are comfortable to say this.
It is really good that you are doing well on treatment. It is also remarkable that HIV treatment can now be as simple as one pill a day for many people.
Lots of other researchers are looking at ways of curing HIV that will be easier and safer – and at some stage this will be achieved. It will probably also involve a vaccine type response, which is likely to still be many years away.
Until then, continuing to take your meds is likely to let you live as long as if an effective cure was now widely available.
There will be a cure one day – but this will need to be safe and affordable, so that it can be used by everyone who needs it.