For the past forty years, researchers around the globe have been searching for a cure for HIV.
In the United States alone, about 1.2 million people have the virus. And a shocking thirteen percent– or about one hundred and fifty-six thousand people– do not even know.
As of this month, though, a team of researchers from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark believes that they have taken a significant step in the fight for a cure.
Led by Dr. Ole Schmeltz Sogaard, the team collaborated with scientists from the U.S., Canada, UK, and Spain to conduct a novel HIV study.
“This study is one of the first to be carried out on human beings in which we have demonstrated a way to strengthen the body’s own ability to fight HIV– even when today’s standard treatment is paused,” Sogaard said.
“We thus regard the study as an important step in the direction of a cure.”
Today, those diagnosed with HIV often receive antiretroviral therapy– which essentially suppresses virus levels in the patient’s blood and works to partially restore the immune system.
But, even though these therapies are effective in the short term, patients must keep up with their treatments. And in the event that treatments are discontinued due to inaccessibility or other reasons, virus levels can rise to the same level they were at prior to treatment within just a few weeks.
Sadly, this is true for all patients– regardless of age– because HIV is able to hide within the genome of immune cells.
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