On Monday, a man whose identity has been withheld to protect his privacy became one of an extremely small group of people who became cured and free of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The man is a 53-year-old German who was diagnosed with a severe case of leukaemia, according to ABC News.
The man was reported to have undergone stem cell treatment for his cancer, which cured the illness. The stem cells the man acquired were from a person who was reportedly unable to contract the virus because their body did not produce a protein called CCR5, which the virus needs to enter the cells.
The man was originally reported to have been cured in 2019. However, doctors ruled that it was too early to deem the patient fully cured and waited until now to confirm that he has stopped taking his HIV medications for the past four years and his body shows no indications of having the virus.
It was also reported that not everyone who is infected with HIV can undergo stem cell treatment because it is extremely risky and can result in the death of the recipient.
The approximate number of people around the world who are infected with the virus equates to 38.4 million. These people are taking modernized drugs and treatments that help to reduce the risk of them transmitting the ailment to their sexual partners and also keep the virus from completely destroying their immune systems, which in turn results in their deaths.
It was also reported that studies are being done to develop a vaccine to prevent people from getting infected with HIV.