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Cure / Functional Cure?

Mar 23, 2011

Hi Dr. Frascino,

I'm newly diagnosed with HIV this past January and we all know that the meds these days are good at suppressing the virus, but obviously don't cure us. I'm on Atripla and have yet to receive my first results yet, but I'm also scared about the short and long term effects of what this drug will do to me. I wait for the day that we don't have to take daily meds anymore and are able to keep the virus in check or to have the virus eradication. I'm a 23 year old man. Do you think I will see something like this in my lifetime?

I just wanted to know what do you see in the future in terms of curing HIV infected people whether its a sterilizing cure, functional cure, gene therapy, therapeutic vaccine development, therapeutic particles etc.? There's a lot of research being done more than ever since the Berlin patient was cured (for now).

I did read your 3 part blog about the "search for a cure heating up", but in terms of finding that cure what is a realistic timeframe? 5 years? 10 years? 20? 50? etc. And when people say a cure may be available in the "foreseeable future" its not very clear to me.

I know no one can predict the future, but I just want to know what is a realistic timeframe to consider.

Response from Dr. Frascino


You state: "I know no one can predict the future . . . ." I totally agree and that statement applies to me as well. HIV has "outsmarted" us many times over the past three decades. However, as I point out in the conclusion of the three-part blog you reference: "There is no doubt that in the search for a cure we often take two steps forward and then one step back. However, we are now certain that we are stepping on the correct path and the pace of our steps is dramatically quickening. The take-home message: A CURE IS NOT ONLY POSSIBLE; IT'S FINALLY IN SIGHT AND HOPEFULLY SOON WITHIN REACH!"

I can't promise a cure in x number of months or years. However, you state you are 23 and newly diagnosed. If I were a betting man, I'd lay odds on a cure of some type well within your lifetime, assuming you don't get run over by a bus in the next year or two. Stay tuned to The Body. We'll keep you updated as the story of "the-end-of-AIDS" continues to unfold.

Dr. Bob

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