A message circulating on Facebook in late June 2021 claims that a cure for HIV is now available. It says, simply: “Finally the cure for HIV is out.”
It does not give any other details or a source for its information.
The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, attacks the body’s white blood cells, specifically the CD4 cells, and weakens the body’s immunity to infection. It can be transmitted through contact with an HIV-positive person’s blood or other body fluids, usually during unprotected sex or from mother to child during birth or breastfeeding.
But has a cure for HIV been found? We checked.
‘No effective cure for HIV’ – CDC
According to the US Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, there is currently no effective cure for HIV.
HIV can be managed through the use of ART, which includes a combination of medicines taken daily. These medicines reduce the amount of HIV in the body, known as the viral load, and raise the body’s CD4 count.
This allows the body to develop immunity to fight off infections. It also significantly reduces the risk of giving HIV to anyone else. An undetectable viral load leads to virtually no risk of transmitting HIV to a partner through unprotected sex and helps prevent transmission from mother to child.
The South African government has rolled out ARTs to HIV-positive people since 2003.
But ART does not cure HIV.
Vaccines against HIV tested, but none approved yet
Pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have announced trials for experimental HIV-vaccine candidates.
Johnson & Johnson completed phase 2 trials for its HIV-vaccine candidate in August 2021. It was trialled in sub-Saharan Africa among women who were at high risk of HIV infection but the vaccine “did not provide sufficient protection” against HIV.
There is currently no available vaccine against HIV. And a vaccine would prevent infection but not be a cure for the disease.
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