2-step therapy shows hope against HIV

A new two-step therapy is showing signs of progress in the fight against HIV.

There are hopes a British man with HIV could become the first to be cured by using a pioneering new therapy. If the trial is successful, it could pave the way for effectively treating the 37 million people around the world living with the virus.

Joe Josh contracted HIV in 2008.  She says being diagnosed was heart breaking.

“It was awful. I would like to say, oh I took it in my stride, but it's not true.  I was just in a sort of shock – I couldn't believe it!” Josh said.

The treatment of AIDS has come a long way but despite major medical advances, there is still no cure.

Now - that could be about to change.  For decades, the use of antiretroviral therapies has fallen short of ridding patients of HIV as the virus can hide out of the drug's reach in immune system's T-cells.
Researchers in trials used a so-called kick and kill technique - using a vaccine to train the immune system to spot hidden HIV proteins.

Then - another drug is used to kick the dormant T-cells awake allowing the immune system to kill HIV infected cells.

The trial is only in its early stages, but already one man in his 40s has tested HIV-free.  He's just the first of 50 people to undergo the pioneering treatment.

It is being led by universities in the United Kingdom, but could have a global impact.

“Internationally, there are 37 million people with HIV - only around half of whom are on a treatment and really everybody should be on a treatment,” said mark Samuels of the National Institute of Health Research.

Scientists say it could be years until it is known for sure that the new treatment works.  But if the breakthrough is proven, it could change the lives of millions of people living with HIV and save the lives of millions more.


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