Will there ever be a cure for AIDS? A British man may be the first person to recover after testing positive for HIV. A year later, the virus seems to have completely left his body. 25-year-old patient Andrew Stimpson says, “My doctor came into the room and kept saying, ‘You’ve cured yourself, you’re fantastic.’ There was massive relief, but I was also deeply confused. And the doctors seemed to be as confused as me.”
AIDs researcher Lisa Power says, “I have never heard of this happening before?Nobody has ever been proved to have spontaneously cleared themselves of HIV.”
One reason it’s so hard for researchers to develop a vaccine to prevent AIDS is that every immune system reacts to it differently. In California, doctors discovered two identical male twins who are both HIV-positive, but who have responded to the disease in different ways, meaning that the way the body responds to the virus is not genetically determined. Both of them were infected by a blood transfusion shortly after birth.
Dr. Paul Krogstad says, “These boys are as similar as two humans can be, yet we see differences in how they fight the virus. That’s one more thing that makes it difficult to develop a vaccine for everyone.”
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