HIV is a serious disease that attacks the immune system and ultimately leads to complications that contributes to the early death of many people. It is estimated that about 36.9 million people around the world are currently HIV positive. Among these, there are about 1.8 million children under the age of 15 with the disease. An estimated 5,000 new HIV infections occur every day – with many of them accounting for children born to a parent who is HIV positive.
At the moment, HIV is classified as an incurable disease. Once diagnosed with this virus, a person will have the virus in their body for the remainder of their lives. There are medications available that can help to slow down the rate at which HIV attacks the body's immune system, but eventually, progression is made, and millions of people end up dying due to the complications caused by the condition.
Earlier in 2019, however, a breakthrough was made after the second person was completely cured of the HIV virus following a stem cell transplantation procedure.
Stem Cell Transplant Leads To A Remission Of HIVAn unidentified man who resides in the United Kingdom was the second ever to be cured of the HIV virus, a disease that is considered incurable. The man was diagnosed with Hodkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer, in 2012. Almost one decade before he was diagnosed with cancer, the man discovered that he was HIV positive. It wasn’t until 2012, however, when the unknown man decided to start utilizing antiviral drugs to assist in managing the HIV virus in his body.
Earlier this year, the man had a setback that was caused by the Hodkin’s lymphoma he was previously diagnosed with. After realizing that his life is it risk, he decided to opt for a life-threatening procedure that utilized stem cells from a very unique donor. The donor had a CCR5 gene mutation that deemed them "HIV immune."
Following the stem cell transplant procedure, the man had a remission of his Hodkin’s lymphoma cancer. This, however, was not all that came out of the procedure. He was also free of the HIV virus after he had undergone the procedure – and he survived this life-risking medical process.
The first patient that was cured of HIV using this type of stem cell transplant procedure was Timothy Ray Brown, now referred to as the "Berlin Patient."
The procedure was done on Timothy over a decade ago, and it turned out a success – specialists in Germany conducted the transplant on the U.S. citizen.
ConclusionAfter undergoing a stem cell transplantation, a British man who was a previous HIV positive experienced a remission of the disease and is now living free of the disease. While this has brought hope to those suffering from the disease, it is far too early to provide any further insight into how this breakthrough could help scientists uncover new ways of targeting HIV, as the specific procedure used in the patient who was cured is deemed life-threatening and not practical for day-to-day situations.