Following on from the fantastic story about the baby that seems to have been ‘cured’ of HIV, there is a new study out that seems to show that 14 patients with HIV have also been ‘functionally’ cured. A functional cure means that whilst there is still HIV virus de

tected in the reservoirs, their bodies seem to be able to keep the virus in check and prevent them from developing AIDS.

The 14 patients are called the Visconti cohort (Viro-immunologic Sustained Control after Treatment Interruption). What the 14 patients have in common is that they were all started on antiretroviral treatment, within 10
weeks of being infected with HIV. They continued on treatment for an average of 3 years and then stopped the drugs, under medical supervision. They were then followed up for a period of 7.5 median years, and despite no further treatment they have been able to control their viral loads, on their own and have remained healthy.

This is good news as it seems to suggest that at least for some people, being treated soon after infection, could lead to them being able to control their infection. It is important to realise that this is a small study and will not apply to everyone, so many further studies need to be done to confirm the findings. However, there is more and more evidence that shows that these ‘functional cures’ can happen which is good news for all.