Is there a cure for HIV or AIDS?


There is no functional cure for HIV or AIDS, meaning that there is no procedure or medication which has been scientifically proven to reliably eliminate the virus from a person's body or reverse the damage to the immune system.

There have been many advances in HIV treatments and therapies in recent years that have dramatically improved the quality of life of people with HIV, and more people are living longer with HIV than we used to think was possible. There are also people whose bodies naturally suppress the virus without medication (referred to as "elite controllers"), though they are rare, and a lack of symptoms should not be interpreted to mean that you do not need medication if you are known to have HIV.

One well-studied, but not yet recreated case of a person who has been 'functionally cured' of HIV is Timothy Brown, also known as "the Berlin Patient". You can read about the science behind the Berlin Patient's case on our blog, BETA. The term 'functionally cured' means that the patient doesn't have to take medications, and there's so little of the virus in their body that they aren't being affected by it and can't infect anyone else. It's not 100% clear whether or not this will stay true in the long term.

In March 2013, a second well-studied case of a functional cure was announced - a toddler who was infected with HIV at birth appears to have been functionally cured.

Want to know more about progress towards a cure for HIV?  BETA has a number of other articles about the latest in HIV cure research.

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