HIV cure ‘within reach’

2012-07-24 08:00

A cure for HIV could be found in the next 6 to 10 years, the executive director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, has said.

Sidibé’s optimism, which is shared by some at the 19th international Aids conference in Washington DC, is boosted by the fact that a man from Germany who lacked a type of protein that HIV uses to enter and infect healthy cells appears to be have been cured after he had a bone marrow transplant.

Timothy Brown was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006. At the time he had been living with HIV for 10 years.

A stem-cell transplant, recommended by his doctor, appeared to have cured him as test after test found no trace of HIV in his body.

Francoise Barre-Sinoussi who was part of the team that discovered HIV in 1983 said: “The science has been telling us for some time now that finding a cure for HIV could be a realistic possibility.”

“The time is right to take the opportunity to try and develop an HIV cure – we might regret never having tried,” she said.

Sidibé agreed, saying: “Finding a cure for Aids is a critical innovation gap. A cure will bring new hope to people living with HIV and their loved ones and could end the cycle of stigma and discrimination.”

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