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Pharms and Cures
Nov 20, 2013

Dr.Young,In having conversed with a few friends and one relative whom works in Pharmaceuticals, the topic of cure was discussed with HIV. I believe that it is possible but far far far far far off from coming into fruition. One of my friends happens to think that there is a cure but the political and money aspect of it is not allowing it to be released. And then the relative said "they have and will continue to make great medicines, but they won't make a cure, since it's the number one profitable disease for the pharmaceutical company". What are your thoughts on this since, you're the professional.

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting.

I suppose the answer to your question depends on how one defines "far, far off".

IMHO, the field has made great strides towards cure- particularly in the setting of pediatric HIV, where I think it's now only an issue of social, political and financial will, rather than science or medications, that prevents us from curing, eliminating (did I say eliminate?) pediatric HIV- that's over a million souls every year. The same is probably true for acute HIV infection in adults.

With regards to a cure for people living with chronic HIV (the vast majority of those individuals currently living with HIV today), it's going to take a lot longer. Perhaps a far, far off time. While the results of Timothy Brown, and the Boston cases should certainly be a cause for celebration, it will take a considerable bit of time, luck and funding to translate these bone marrow transplantation strategies into something that can be done safely and cost-effectively for people who aren't balancing the risks/benefits of HIV and cancer.

I am not a conspiracy theorist in believing that it's a pharmaceutical industry secret or master plan not to have a cure- no more than I believe that the CIA planned 9/11. Probably HIV is a very difficult virus to cure because the beast lives, camouflaged in the chromosomes of human cells. It evolves very rapidly. These are features that make cure very challenging and orders of magnitude more difficult than, say, influenza or hepatitis C virus (by the way, we now do have cures for HCV- no conspiracy mastermind prevented that one from coming through the pipeline).

My 2c.

Be well, BY



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