HIV and Immune-Suppressing Therapies Hold Promise for Cure

The success of current HIV therapies has not gone unnoticed. Thanks to the antiviral drugs commonly prescribed to HIV-positive patients, overall well-being and length of life has been greatly improved. A slowing in the progression of the disease has helped many people to go on to lead full, happy and relatively healthy lives. However, a complete HIV cure still eludes researchers. HIV remains in the body, even though infection is controlled. Immune response to the lingering infection causes inflammation and this can lead to other issues. Because of this reality, it was decided that a different approach using immune-suppressing therapies might shed some light on how this problem could be better handled.

By combining expertise in different fields, researchers became aware of exciting new information. By closely following and monitoring patients who had recent kidney transplants and who were also HIV-positive, they found that certain transplant drugs may hold the key to better manage HIV. The immune-suppressing drugs given to transplant patients are used to ensure that the new organ is not rejected. Researchers monitoring the number of HIV infected cells in the blood, noted that levels were reduced over time when taking these drugs. This finding is different from what is normally seen in routine HIV treatments. This decrease in HIV persistence is prompting further investigation.

Specific drug therapies were found to be particularly good at reducing the amounts of HIV found in the blood. These commonly prescribed treatments will be studied in order to learn more of how they work and their potential for completely eradicating HIV from the system. If the research proves that these immune altering drugs are effective, an HIV cure could well be in reach. Researchers are optimistic that, if nothing else, immune-suppressing therapies will help to better manage HIV and reduce some of the complications associated with the infection.