Q and A


Can I get rid of my HIV antibodies?

I know ARVs will bring down my viral load but antibodies can remain for years.
Can any diet or medication make the antibodies disappear?
I’ve heard of some people having a antibody test for different reasons, like the bone marrow transplant case.



Thanks for your question.

Even if a cure is found, someone will still test positive using an HIV antibody test. This is because it looks at whether the immune system has been exposed to HIV. Even if you maintain an undetectable viral load for years, you will still have antibodies as your body “remembers” that you were infected with HIV.

There is no way you can effect this with diet or other drugs. However, having antibodies to HIV doesn’t mean you are unwell. If your viral load is undetectable then you are keeping HIV at very low levels, reducing the damage it can do.

I think the bone marrow transplant case refers to Timothy Brown who was given a stem cell transplant because he had leukaemia (a type of cancer). The stem cells from a donor were resistant to HIV due a rare mutation. This allowed his body to use the resistant cells to stop HIV.

Scientists are using the knowledge from this to work harder at finding a cure, and a are focusing on getting HIV down to such low levels in the body that it will struggle to come back. There is always a risk it could come back though, similar to cancer and that’s why for now taking ARVs and keeping undetectable is the best way to keep healthy.

Please let me know if you have any more questions.