The Grapevine

HIV Update 2019: What We Know About Its Effects, Cure Today

The HIV and AIDS outbreak started in the 1980s and early 1990s across the world. The World Health Organization previously revealed that more than 70 million people have been reported with the infection while 35 million have died of AIDS.

Scientists discovered the potential origin of the disease in 1999, according to HISTORY. Traces of HIV were found in chimpanzees that infected hunters in Africa. 

Researchers believed the first transmission of the virus to humans occurred in 1920 in Kinshasa, the capital and largest city in Congo. From there, the global pandemic started. 

To date, countless programs and studies have been launched by governments and organizations across the world to find an effective HIV cure. However, despite the technological advances, the scientific community is still far away from finding an effective cure. 

HIV treatment is prevention

Despite the lack of cure, experts found ways to prevent the spread of the infection. Some medications are already available in the market to keep HIV undetectable and to cut the risk of sexually transmitting the virus to partners.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can reduce the amount of HIV in the blood and causes viral suppression. Previous studies of thousands of male-female and male-male couples, with one of each couple being HIV positive found no transmissionswhen the HIV-positive partner was virally suppressed, according to, a website of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 

ART can also reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission.

Potential HIV cure

In early March, a new study surprised the world after reporting the second patient to be cured of HIV, a progress that came nearly 12 years after the first cured patient was unveiled.  

The latest success confirmed that a cure for H.I.V. infection is possible. Scientists used a bone marrow transplant to clear the second patient of the virus. It was the same process applied to the first person who was reported clinically cured of HIV in 2007.

The bone marrow provided new immune cells with the ability to resist infection, which stopped the development and spread of the virus in the body of the patient. 

However, more studies are required until doctors can clinically use such treatment to end HIV.