General Question

RandomMrdan's avatar

Is there a Cure for HIV/AIDS?

Asked by RandomMrdan (7436points) June 2nd, 2009

I keep reading things online, but just find myself not believing it. I’ve read in a few places, that you simply take some pills for 3 weeks, and you’re cured.

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17 Answers

AstroChuck's avatar

Medication can address the symptoms and extend one’s life, but sadly a cure has yet to be developed. Our own resident doctor shilolo can offer far more insight than I can.

asmonet's avatar

Don’t believe it, it’s a dangerous lie.

Sadly, there are people who fall for it. And die much younger than they normally would have.

RandomMrdan's avatar

strange, why would they lie about that?

jrpowell's avatar

No cure yet. But you can take a expensive combination of pills to help. But if you are young it will still probably be what kills you.

RandomMrdan's avatar

no, I don’t have HIV, I was just curious.

Toastlovingcat's avatar

Yeah we were just learning about this in school last month

Kayak8's avatar

I have worked in HIV from the beginning of the epidemic. I can assure you that there is no cure currently available.

1. There is prevention (keeping the virus from entering your body).

2. There is treatment.

All US states and territories have what are called AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs). These programs allow individuals to access treatment at no/low cost.

The virus has some predictable behaviors (how it enters the host cell, how it makes copies of itself, how it puts those copies into the DNA of the host cell, how it makes a special protein covering to create new virus particles, how the viral particles mature, etc.) Drug companies have made/are making products to address each of these predictable behaviors. In some cases they are even cooperating with each other to create combination drugs (several medicines in a single pill) to make it easier for folks to take the drugs.

The average lifespan for an individual with HIV infection, if caught early in the course of infection, with the medications available is nearly normal. While there are certainly side effects from the medications, it is very important to get tested to know if one has the virus, so that one can take advantage of the current treatments.

The federal government, through the Ryan White Treatment Modernization Act, funds the ADAP programs and provides additional monies to ensure that individuals with HIV have access to physicians and other practitioners who are familiar with their disease process.

Any drugs that are used in the treatment of HIV have all been through a process called clinical trials. These are blind studies (where the patient doesn’t know which drug and sometimes even the doctor doesn’t know which drug) where a drug is tested to make sure it really does the things the drug company promises that it can do. Other clinical trials help determine how much drug is necessary to be effective (to prevent giving too much drug).

All these so-called “cures” on the internet have never been through the clinical trials process to enable the developers to PROVE that the drugs do what they say. Therein lies the danger.

So many people want a sense of hope when they learn they have HIV. The best hope is to be seen by a practitioner familiar with HIV disease and to start on meds at the appropriate time. There are even tests available to let a doctor know which drugs will work best against a given patient’s virus.

shilolo's avatar

As @Kayak8 said, there is no cure, but treatments (at least in developed countries) have improved to the point that it is almost too easy to treat HIV. People can live a long time now with HIV, and I’ve had patients in their 70s and even 80s. However, an actual drug-based cure doesn’t exist. Period.

AstroChuck's avatar

See. I told you.

asmonet's avatar

@RandomMrdan: Generally, medical hoaxes and promises of cures with no scientific backing are made for one reason – money.

Kayak8's avatar

@asmonet And they have existed since before the snake oil salesmen! There is a sucker born every minute and, unfortunately, too many of them get caught up in miracle cures.

oratio's avatar

It seems like presidents can cure aids.@

RandomMrdan's avatar

@oratio that is similar to the links I keep finding…usually not quite as odd though.

asmonet's avatar

@oratio: Why is it that 90% of the threads I’ve been on lately have included something that L&O: SVU has made an episode about? :(

You just added one to the pile.

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