There's a functional cure for HIV says Prof Caroline Tiemessen

World Aids day might mean a lot to some people depending on their relationship with the HIV virus. To many living with the virus, it’s possible to live a prolonged and fruitful life.

Africa Melane talks to the head of cell biology at the Centre for HIV and STI, Professor Caroline Tiemessen about the issues surrounding the battle to understand and combat AIDS.

The main interest has been using early treatment says Professor Tiemessen. She adds that there are some cases which show that some people can control the virus naturally, if they treat the virus early.

It's of particular interest when looking at the inspiring case of a young local girl who was born with the Aids virus, but has kept her infection suppressed for more than eight years after stopping anti-HIV medicines says Professor Tiemessen. It's not a cure, but it's certainly a step in the right direction she adds.

HIV remission has also been called functional cure.

Professor Caroline Tiemessen, head of cell biology at the center for HIV and STI

Professor Caroline Tiemessen says that when people interpret the word ‘cure’, they think of an absolute cure but that’s not the case. We try to use the word remission which means that it’s a sustained control of the virus she adds.

Seeing massive progress in the realm of treatment and remission, is of particular interest when looking at the inspiring case of a young local girl says Professor Caroline Tiemessen. She adds that the girl was born with the Aids virus, but has kept her infection suppressed for more than eight years after stopping anti-HIV medicines.

A child that was infected during pregnancy, infected from the mom, received treatment very early within 30 hours of birth. Then was on treatment for a period of 18 months, stopped the treatment, and then controlled the virus naturally for the next 27 months.

Professor Caroline Tiemessen, head of cell biology at the center for HIV and STI

Listen to the ways in which functional cure could assist you...


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