- At Denver's Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, a case study was presented of a US woman who was cured of HIV
- The woman was diagnosed with HIV and leukemia, but due to umbilical cord blood, she is free of the virus
- Netizens are excited by the news and hopeful that the new scientific discovery will mean an HIV-free future
Denver - A leukemia patient in the US, who also had HIV, has been cured of the virus by a first-of-its-kind stem cell transplant.
Her story was presented as a case study at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Denver. The doctors who treated her used umbilical cord blood, which is an innovative new method.
The woman was initially receiving the blood as part of her leukaemia treatment, but doctors noticed it eliminated the HIV from her body without any antiretroviral (ARV) pill. SABC News reports that she has been free of HIV for 14 months and is in remission from leukemia.
Previous stem cell treatments for HIV patients
Previously, two men had been separately treated for HIV through adult stem cell transplants. They were cured and scientists and doctors predict that umbilical cord transplants will pave the way for HIV treatment in the future, according to Reuters.
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The head of the International AIDS Society, Sharon Lewin, said that this case proves that gene therapy is a successful method of treating HIV patients. Currently, it's still not a very accessible treatment. Lewin added that scientists need to find ways to make stem cell transplants more cost-effective and easier to administer.
"Taken together, these three cases of a cure post stem cell transplant all help in teasing out the various components of the transplant that were absolutely key to a cure," Lewin said.
HIV/AIDS: UN highlights 1 most important thing that can end spread of disease
Meanwhile, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) had said that there is an urgent need to tackle the long-standing inequalities existing in the assessment of HIV treatment commodities among people living with the virus.
The country director of UNAIDS, Erasmus Morah, said this while speaking at the press conference organised by the National Agency for the Control of AIDSS (NACA) in Abuja on Wednesday, November 24.
The conference attended by Legit.ng reporter was in commemoration of the 2021 World AIDS Day themed, "End Inequalities, End AIDS Through Sustainable HIV Financing in Nigeria."