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Are there any clinical trials (World Wide) studying curative treatment for HIV?
Aug 15, 2000

I have recently been diagnosed with HIV. My most recent test indicated a CD4 count of 650 and a viral load of 1,800. I am currently on combivir and sustiva. My goal is the rapidly reach an undetectable viral load. And, to seek out any available research that is studying curative treatment for HIV. There are some reports that there is possibly a cure to HIV and studies are being conducted in Africa. Is this true? There has been much media about Magic Johnson and his status with this virus. Some claims report that he is not just undetectable for the virus, but he is negative. Do you know anything about this? More specifically, is there any treatment, approved or not, that is looking at a cure for HIV? How can I find out more? If you have heard anything about this please share with me your comments. While this may be wishful thinking, I believe there is a cure and I am willing to go on any trail that is looking at one. Please respond. Thank You.

Response from Dr. Cohen

We in the research world are all searching for a cure. And sadly, there is no study anywhere in the world that has found one yet. The rumors about Magic -- or anyone else that is supposedly cured -- are so far merely cruel rumors that confuse people, rather than clarify. I promise you that if there was a study that showed we did cure anyone of HIV -- it would be more than a quiet unverified rumor. It would be front page news on every paper and magazine in the world. Even on TV. Including an interview with Barbara Walters and Oprah of the people who found it.

No -- no cures. Not even in some quiet corner of Africa. Especially not there -- where HIV is killing off generations without mercy. Of this we know.

However -- there is much going on in research to see how we MIGHT lead to a cure -- or even what could be second best -- which is to teach the immune system how to control HIV perhaps with fewer meds, or maybe even none. That work is going on in many places in the US, Europe and elsewhere. Both in cities across the US as well as at the NIH in the Washington DC area. You could see what is happening near you -- since joining such research studies is the only way we will learn these answers. As for finding studies -- there are a few ways. There is a phone number -- 1800 TRIALSA -- that lists some studies. And there are websites that have listings. So look around and see what may be available wherever you are.

As for your circumstance -- with a viral load of 1800 -- there is little doubt that your virus will become undetectable on the meds you mention. (I assume that viral load is before treatment). Indeed there is controversy about starting treatment in someone with your numbers -- since there is very little damage seen with a viral load that low even off meds.

Good luck.



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