‘Miracle’: Woman ‘cured’ herself of HIV

A woman has amazed doctors by apparently eradicating HIV from her body in what is being called a “miracle of the immune system”.

An Argentinian woman appears to have been naturally “cured” of HIV despite not being on medication, according to scientists who hailed the case as a “rare” hope for the nearly 38 million people infected with the virus.

The 30-year-old mum has been dubbed the “Esperanza patient” after the town where she lives — and whose name fittingly means “hope.”

According to research published Monday in the Journal of HIV and Human Behavior, the patient was diagnosed in 2013 with HIV. Annals of Internal Medicine.

She never felt sick or took medication, and a battery of recent tests did not find the virus, “despite analysis of massive numbers of cells from blood and tissues,” the study said.

The findings suggest “that this patient may have naturally achieved a sterilising cure of HIV-1 infection,” the co-authors wrote, reported the New York Post.

“These observations raise the possibility that a sterilising cure may be an extremely rare but possible outcome of HIV-1 infection,” the study concluded.

Modern medications can’t rid the body of HIV but they can keep it under control so people living with the virus live long and healthily lives with virtually no chance of transmitting HIV.

One of the study’s co-authors, Dr Xu Yu of the Ragon Institute in Boston, told NBC News, “This is really the miracle of the human immune system that did it.

“This gives us hope that the human immune system is powerful enough to control HIV and eliminate all the functional virus,” Dr Yu added to the Boston Globe. “Time will tell, but we believe she has reached a sterilising cure.”

The patient’s case was similar to that of Loreen Willenberg, a 67-year-old California woman who also appeared to have cured herself despite not using antiretroviral drugs in the three decades after she was infected.

The scientists in Argentina and Boston had extensively tested the woman in Esperanza since 2019, but found no signs of the virus.

The study found that antibodies were the only thing that could confirm that she had been infected.

Scientists are attempting to determine the exact cause of both cases in order to develop future treatments or cures.

“Just thinking that my condition might help achieve a cure for this virus makes me feel a great responsibility and commitment to make this a reality,” the “Esperanza patient” wrote to the Globe’s STAT News.

According to the woman, her first child is healthy and HIV-free. She and her partner are now expecting a new one.

“I enjoy being healthy,” she added to NBC News in Spanish in an email.

“I have a healthy family. I don’t have to medicate, and I live as though nothing has happened. This already is a privilege,” she said.

This article appeared in New York PostIt is reproduced with permission.


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