At this point of time, there is no cure for HIV or AIDS. No doubt the anti-retroviral treatment facilitates in suppressing the HIV infection and delays the related illness for many years but they just do not clear the body from the virus completely.
But optimism and hope is there that an authentic medicine for the HIV treatment will soon be developed like in next few decades. A new strategy has been developed towards finding a cure that involves the policy makers, scientists, funders as well as people living with HIV.
Possibility of a functional cure for AIDS:
The results of a study that was released in 2012, that involved 14 French people living with HIV has been one of the indicators that a functional cure for HIV is possible. These people started taking anti-retroviral soon after they knew that they had been infected. After three years, these people stopped taking their ARVs and therefore their HIV infection should have resurged. But in fact, they stopped taking the medicine and still they were successful in maintaining lowered levels of virus in their immune system for an average of seven years.
The disease has been seen to be cured in infants. In March 2013, a Mississippi baby was born with HIV and he was given high doses of three anti-retroviral drugs right after he was delivered and he was cured from the disease. In March 2014, it was reported that a baby in California was born with HIV. He too was cured from the disease because doctors gave him anti-retroviral treatment four hours after he was delivered. At the same time, it is worth stating here that a detectable level of HIV that was found in Mississippi baby was a serious blow to the progress towards a functional cure.
Purging the HIV reservoir:
Researchers believe that best way to eradicate the HIV infection is to combine the anti-retroviral treatment drugs to flush the HIV from its hiding places within the body of the person. The idea is to activate the resting CD4 cells that are infected and then they will initiate the production of the new HIV particles. These newly activated cells will be destroyed by the immune system of the body and the anti-retroviral will mop up the released HIV.
Bone marrow transplants:
In November 2008, a couple of German doctors announced that they have successfully cured a patient of HIV infection via bone marrow transplant. They used cells from donor with a genetic mutation that is rare and called Delta 32 producing resistance to AIDS. The researchers reported after 20 months of the treatment that there have been no traces of HIV in the person. Still bone marrow transplant is seriously dangerous and expensive to be used as a cure widely.
Gene therapy is also known to resist the HIV infection. In 2014, a trial that was using gene-editing techniques cured a gene in the immune system of 12 people living with this infection. But then again due to its invasive nature of stem cell treatment, it is not feasible for majority of people to use this as a cure against AIDS.
People living with HIV naturally respond to the virus by producing antibodies against it. Though antibodies of most of the people remain unable to destroy the HIV causing infection but immune systems can produce a number of small cells to resist the AIDS virus.
A multistage approach:
It has been argued largely that by combining various treatments may lead to the successful cure for AIDS. Reservoir purging drugs combined with the treatments targeting the HIV infected cells with vaccines intercepting the remaining HIV infected cells might prove to be more effective.
Funding for research:
Top institutes of the world are engaged in finding a cure for the HIV or AIDS. So, it is worth mentioning that more funding is required in this field. In case you want to know more about what is being done in UK about this issue, you must visit the following link leading to Governments policies related to research for curing HIV.