RadioMD: Staying Well

Countdown to Find a Cure for Aids by 2020

May 19, 20149 min
There's never been a more optimistic time for the cure to AIDS than there is right now.AIDS, also known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome is the final stage of the disease HIV that causes damage to your immune system. When you have AIDS, there is a severe loss of your body's cellular immunity and can lower your body's resistance to infection.You may think that HIV/AIDS is not a huge epidemic anymore and that not many people are suffering from this disease. However, according to the AIDS website, more than 1.1 million people in the US are living with the HIV infection and that 1 in 6 people are unaware of their infection.The past couple of years, there has been several breaks in research that hold a promising hope that the cure for AIDS can and will be found. Why does amfAR believe a cure for HIV/AIDS is feasible by the year 2020?Remember the Berlin patient? His real name is Timothy Brown and he was thought to be the first and only person to be cured of HIV. He was diagnosed in 1995 and aggressively controlled the virus for several years by using antiretroviral therapy. In 2007, things took a turn for the worse when Brown was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and had a stem cell transplant. Brown's chemotherapy failed but his doctors went with an unrelated donor who screened positive for homozygous mutation, CCR5∆32. Four years later after that transplant, Brown is free from cancer as well as HIV.A cure for HIV is possible and for the first time there is an understanding what scientific barriers of finding a cure is and what researchers need to do to overcome these barriers to find a cure.When you hear the word, cure you may think that the HIV/AIDS is no longer found in that patient's body. However, at amfAR, cure means a different thing. A cure means that if you've been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and were taking antiretroviral therapy now no longer needs it or any other medication, they are living a long and healthy life and if they not transmitting HIV to anyone else.What is the countdown to a cure?Vice president and director of research at amfAR, Rowena Johnston joins Melanie Cole, MS to discuss why she believes a cure for AIDS can be reached by 2020 and the steps that are needed to be taken to reach that goal.

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