HIV/ AIDS was diagnosed in 1996 as a death sentence for the patients but with advanced medical treatment options, the HIV cocktail was designed which served miracles for the patients suffering from HIV/AIDS in the 20th century. Even though we have made so many successes in the medical field regarding medicines, vaccinations and many others but still there is no cure for HIV/ AIDS. There are antiviral treatment options which help in controlling the growth of virus so that the people can survive a healthy life. Scientists and researchers do believe that they will find a cure for HIV/AIDS.
HIV or human immunodeficiency virus results in a disease called AIDS by infecting and destructing the cells known as helper T cells which are required for the immune system to work effectively and offer prevention against infectious agents. The slow damage to these essential cells makes the body vulnerable to infections and makes it unable to offer defense against harmful bacterial and viral diseases. HIV is a type of retrovirus that integrates the genetic information within the host cell’s DNA. The DNA of the virus is then utilized by the host cells considering it as their own resulting in the replication of the viral RNA and ultimately increased production of the virus inside the body. If the HIV infection is left untreated, billions of T cells are infected and killed daily with an average span of 1-2 days. Some of these T-cells don’t die and go into a latent phase where they have viral DNA and are known as provirus. Antiviral drugs are prescribed by the doctors for HIV/AIDS but it only prevents the infection of new cells by the virus without any impact over the infected cells. If the antiviral drug treatment is interrupted the virus progresses back and results in a rapid infection. HIV returns as some of the Tells are termed as memory cells who remember the prior infection of viruses and divide rapidly.
There are two types of cure which the scientists are looking for i.e. functional cure along with the sterilizing cure. The functional cure of HIV results in suppression of the virus to low levels so that it is not detectable but still present inside the body. The sterilizing cure is the one that aids in the eradication of the HIV/AIDS virus through the body completely i.e. hidden reservoirs.
People assume that what to do if we are unable to completely cure the disease but for now you can only test for HIV regularly. If you are suffering from the HIV the healthcare professionals will advise you with antiviral treatment. To date, there is only one individual who has been completely cured for HIV i.e. Timothy Ray Brown. This patient was treated in 2007 for leukemia with a therapeutic plan where his immune cells were chemically destructed followed by the bone marrow infusion from a donor who had genetic resistance towards HIV infection. Till now, many follow-ups have been done on this patient and still, there is no sign of virus replication in his body. His case shows that HIV/ AIDS is treatable but the treatment is a combination of several medical approaches which can result in high chances of death and is unable to be applied generally over the public. Such a therapeutic approach was applied over some patients, but it either failed due to the death of the patient or viral return. This case shows that the researchers and healthcare professionals still need to find ways where they can safely treat HIV more simply without any negative impact on HIV patients.
Until Next Time,
Team Doctor ASKY!