There is hope for an HIV cure. A 66-year-old man became the fourth known adult patient to be cured of the virus that causes AIDS.
Officials from the City of Hope Cancer Center in southern California disclosed the case last week at the 24th Annual International AIDS Conference in Montreal, Canada.
“We were thrilled to let him know that his HIV is in remission and he no longer needs to take antiretroviral therapy that he had been on for over 30 years,” said Jana K. Dickter, M.D. City of Hope associate clinical professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases. “He saw many of his friends die from AIDS in the early days of the disease and faced so much stigma when he was diagnosed with HIV in 1988. But now, he can celebrate this medical milestone.”
The Caucasian man received a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor and had been off antiretroviral (ART) medications for 17 months. Dubbed the “Hope Patient” for privacy purposes, the man had been receiving chemotherapy treatments for leukemia — diagnosed in 2018.
His viral load was undetectable for HIV for many years before chemotherapy. He delayed going off ART meds in order to be vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus.
The Hope Patient’s bone marrow transplant, a very risky operation in itself, provides doctors a roadmap for future gene editing procedures that create mutations to kill the virus, Dickter said.