14 More People With HIV 'All But Cured'

Cases in France resemble Mississippi baby

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 15, 2013 3:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – More good news on HIV: French researchers say another 14 people have been "functionally cured" of the virus, NPR reports. Unlike the groundbreaking case of a US baby, these patients still have HIV in their bloodstreams—but at very low levels that are hard to detect. Like the US baby, they were treated with antiviral drugs soon after being infected with HIV. The conclusion: Early treatment can stop HIV from setting up "reservoirs" of infected cells in a patient's body.

In the French group—comprised of four women and 10 men—each patient took antiretroviral-drug combinations for a period spanning one to nearly eight years. And they haven't been taking the drugs for four to 10 years—either by choice or because they participated in a study that interrupted HIV treatment. Poring over decidedly scant data, French researchers estimate that about 15% of patients with HIV can be "functionally cured" if they get early treatment. (Could it be that the "HIV baby" never really had the virus?)

  (Shutterstock)
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