HIV hope as first patient cured

RESEARCHERS may be one step closer in finding a cure for HIV after a new treatment was trialled.

A 44-year-old patient was the first of 50 people to finish the trial, which tests the new “kick and kill” technique that tracks and destroys every HIV cell in the entire body.

The tests showed no detectable HIV virus was present in his blood after the new treatment, however scientists have warned it is too early to tell if the treatment has really worked.

Organised by the NHS, the trials are being carried out by a collaboration between scientists and doctors from five of the UK’s top universities.

HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus, is mainly spread through infected needles or sexual acts and can also cause AIDS which leaves an individual’s immune system vulnerable to infections.

According to HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, an estimated 103,700 people are living with HIV in the UK in 2014 and 17% are undiagnosed and do not know about their condition.

Donna Bone, the Chief Executive of Positive Action Charity in Southampton, said the key thing is to be tested and diagnosed early with certain places people can go to for help.

She said: “In Southampton you can go to the sexual health clinic at St Mary’s hospital and have a very simple test where only a very small amount of blood is required.

“It is world HIV week at the end of November so there will be an increased number of testing opportunities available in the local community.”

by Stephanie Wan (@Sinyingwan1), Ellie Foxwell (@ellie_foxwell), Sophie Luckett (@sophie_luckett)