The quest to cure the HIV virus has been taking a precedence for a generation now, and some of the most promising advances have come from the research on other diseases.
In a story filed by NBC News, two men who had undergone bone marrow treatment for their cancer appear to no longer be carrying the AIDS virus.
While the physicians are reluctant to claim a cure, it has been four months since the two men have stopped taking their HUV drugs, and still remain free of the virus.
Dr. Timothy Henrich of the Brigham and Women's Hospital, as well as the Harvard Medical School, stated,
“While these results are exciting, they do not yet indicate that the men have been cured.”
The cases involving these two men were initially reported by Dr. Henrich and Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, along with their associates, at an AIDS conference in July 2012 after a search for leukemia and lymphoma patients were actively sought after.
The purpose of the search was an attempt to replicate the case involving Timothy Brown, who was treated for his leukemia using a bone marrow transplant that used marrow from a person who had a genetic mutation that resists HIV infection. Brown is still free from HIV five years later.
While this and other cases that seemingly have allowed these patients to remain HIV free, the nature of the virus precludes anyone from shouting 'Eureka!' too soon.
Kevin Robert Frost, the CEO of the Foundation for AIDS Research, stated,
"There never is an 'aha' moment when you suddenly can declare a cure. It is impossible to prove the absence of something."
HIV, which causes AIDS, is transmitted sexually, through blood, on infected needles, at childbirth and in breast milk.
Dr. Henrich states there is much debate as to when to confirm a patient cured, because there really isn't a definition of what cured is.