Jan 13, 2009
I would like to know what is a "funtional cure" for HIV? I've read before somewhere that a funtional cure my be possible before a total (eradication)cure of HIV from the body.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Basically there are two types of potential "cures" for HIV: sterilizing and "functional." A sterilizing cure is synonymous with "viral eradication" (i.e. the elimination of every viral particle from an infected person). This has been achieved in some folks who had hepatitis C but never ion someone infected with HIV. Because of HIV's uncanny ability to persist and replicate, even after a decade or more of fully suppressive therapy with potent antiretroviral drugs, it was felt for some time now that a sterilizing (eradication) cure was the only real cure. Recently we've begun to discuss another type of "cure," a functional cure.
A "functional" cure would mean that even though HIV was not totally eliminated from the body, an HIV-infected person would be able to live and be healthy long-term without the need for antiretroviral drug treatment.
Dr. Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health (NIH), discussed the potential of a functional cure for HIV at his presentation at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City in August of last year. The potential model for a functional cure would involve very early and very aggressive HIV-drug treatment, possibly combined with HIV-specific immune-based therapies. This model would require diagnosis very soon after infection (days) and the access to very aggressive therapies. I should point out the concept of a "functional cure" is still experimental at this time. However, it is encouraging to hear someone of Dr. Fauci's status talking about a cure. Stay tuned to The Body. We'll keep you posted as this story evolves.
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