UAB doctor sheds light on HIV cure

UAB Doctor sheds light on HIV cure

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Since news broke of that second patient being cured of the virus, many people have asked Dr. Michael Saag at UAB, “Can I be cured too?”

He said the answer is not really, or at least not by this surgery.

Dr. Saag, the Director of UAB Center for AIDS research, said the patient who was cured had cancer, HIV, and needed a bone marrow transplant.

The treatment process in the case, got rid of the cancer cells and the cells with HIV.

Dr. Saag said unless you have cancer and end up getting a bone marrow transplant, your chances of being cured of the virus like this are slim.

And he said it's a lot more dangerous to have a bone marrow transplant than it is to live with HIV now.

"With the drugs we have today, we're able to shut the virus down so it doesn't harm the immune system anymore. And as long as people take their medicine every day, the virus is contained, and the person goes on and lives a normal life," said Dr. Saag. "And, oh by the way, while they're living a normal life, they're not transmitting the virus to other people. "

Dr. Saag said the question now is can doctors cure the virus in a way that doesn't require such an aggressive procedure such as a bone marrow transplant.

He said they’re working on it, but they’re not there yet, and he doesn’t know if they’ll ever get there.

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