It may be possible to control HIV with early treatment
Nipping infection in the bud may delay further therapy
Scientists say that there is increasing evidence that it is possible to control the virus that causes AIDS with early treatment, so further therapy is not immediately needed. Fourteen patients with HIV, who received antiretroviral treatment within 10 weeks of infection, had their viral loads decreased so much that scientists say they are "functionally cured."
"You haven't eradicated the virus, but interestingly, when you stop therapy, even though the virus is still there and you can measure it, it doesn't come back with a vengeance and cause disease in the person," doctors say.
"Cure" is a term usually reserved for someone who was once infected has no virus left in his or her body.
In this particular instance, it can be said that there is "sustained remission that doesn't require therapy," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says -- what scientists call a "functional cure."
"You haven't eradicated the virus, but interestingly, when you stop therapy, even though the virus is still there and you can measure it, it doesn't come back with a vengeance and cause disease in the person," he says.
These 14 were identified out of 70 people with HIV whose treatment had been interrupted. It must be noted that the virus in these patients is not completely eradicated, even though they have been off therapy for up to about 10 years. There is still a possibility that disease will return in these patients, but the chances are low, Fauci says. Many are able to live many years without therapy is "a pretty good bonus" of early treatment.
When a person gets infected with HIV and years pass, the virus establishes a reservoir in the long-lived T-cells called lymphocytes, Fauci explains.
"Those latent cells are kind of like embers of a fire, and when we take our treatment away, those latent embers reignite the infection and a fire breaks out," Dr. Michael Saag, professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham says. He was not involved in the study.
When a person with HIV receives aggressive treatment soon after infection, according to the hypothesis put forth by the study, the virus forms a reservoir in the shorter-lived lymphocytes. When therapy was stopped, according to this theory, the viral reservoir was extremely low.
Cases of HIV are most often not treated immediately after infection, Fauci says. People commonly find out they have HIV because they feel poorly or happen to take an HIV test. This usually occurs when the HIBV virus has been present in the patient for years previously.
The new study's conclusion "is even greater fortification for the concept of really seeking out people and identify(ing) them very, very soon after they get infected, and treating them aggressively," Fauci says. That means screening people in high-risk communities.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Health News
- Traditional parenting, spanking, morality are out, drugs to control kids behavior are in
- CONCLUSION: Multivitamins have no health benefit, researchers say
- Efficacy of influenza vaccine openly debated
- Study: Exercise found much better for stroke victims than medication
- New breast cancer drug reports high incidents of success
- Taking its toll: 14 million people diagnosed with cancer in 2012
- FDA gives guidelines to limit use of antibiotics in livestock
- Exercise reduces chances of dementia, lengthy study concludes
- Obamacare crashing in model states like California as 70 percent of doctors opt out
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?