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Typically HIV-positive indivuals take anti-retroviral drugs to treat the virus. But a 42-year-old American man living in Berlin was HIV-positive until a bone marrow transplant with cells from a donor naturally immune to all forms of HIV. Doctors have not detected the virus in his blood for over 600 days.
The cells are immune to HIV because of a genetic mutation, which 1% of Europeans but almost no Africans or Asians carry. In the Berlin case, doctors killed all of the patients own bone marrow cells and then injected the new cells from a donor with both parents bearing the specific genetic mutation. During this entire process, the patient was not taking his typical dose of medication.
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But does this mean you can fling off your condoms? Does this mean you should not get tested once a year, or more? No, of course not. But we're anxious to see this potentially life-saving treatment tested again and again. If it really works, millions of lives can be saved.