These days thanks to modern medicine, contracting HIV is not necessarily the death sentence it used to be, although it is unfortunately still incurable. Or at least until now because over in the UK, it has been reported that a 44-year old social worker seems to have been “cured” from it.
The social worker is part of a “kick and kill” trial where he was first given a vaccine to help his immune system detect infected cells, after which he then takes a medicine called Vorinostat that activates the dormant infected cells that would have otherwise not have gotten caught by the medicine. After that has been done, it comes down to the healthy parts of his immune system to help kill off all the HIV, so in theory this should wipe out pretty much all of the infection in his body.
Like we said, so far the trial appears to have been successful as early tests seem to suggest that he has been “cured”. However researchers caution against celebrating just yet because this patient is just one out of 50 who are undergoing the trial, and they also suspect that his regular doses of conventional HIV medicine could have potentially contributed to his clean bill of health (meaning that the results could have been affected by outside influences).
He would also have to wait a few months to reconfirm that the HIV is no longer in his system, and assuming that is the case, the tests will still need to be carried out for at least another 5 years. Ultimately what this means is that we’re still pretty far off from a complete cure, but if anything this trial seems to show some promise.