A study of 14 patients who were treated with antiviral HIV medications within weeks of infection now have now have no disease activities years after stopping medication. The research comes weeks after news spread that a Mississippi baby who was born with HIV and received immediate treatment was now disease-free at two and a half years old....Published March 14 in the journal PLoS Pathogens, French researchers described the 14 cases who have controlled their HIV post-treatment. All 14 patients were diagnosed with the infection in the late 1990s or early 2000s, 12 of whom showed symptoms of the infection......All these patients were given standard combination antiretroviral therapy -- which typically can reduce risk for other infections and death, but cannot cure the infection -- for a median of three years. Most people with HIV/AIDS have to take these drugs for the rest of their lives. What may have made a difference for these patients is that all started the therapy within 10 weeks of infection.
The faster treatments were able to preserve the patients' immune system responses and protect against inflammation caused by the disease, in addition to reducing reservoirs of HIV elsewhere in the body. These reservoirs of dormant HIV often re-infect people once they stop taking medication. Using estimates from a French hospital database, the researchers said 5 to 15 percent of patients who stop their antiviral therapy early may no longer need medication. The effects were seen a median of six years after stopping treatment.
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