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Stem Cell Research Leads Scientists to a Potential Cure for HIV

Updated on July 10, 2012

© by Jennifer McLeod writing as jenjen0703, all rights reserved.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

A major health threat that has raised great awareness for over 40 years is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. Until recently, HIV has had no known cure.

Scientists may be close to finding that cure.

AIDS was first clinically diagnosed in the United States in 1981 but did not adopt the name until 1982. Scientists were finding the disease was most common in heroin addicts, homosexuals, hemophiliacs, and Haitians, also referred to as the 4H. Ongoing research revealed that AIDS was not limited to just the gay community, and it is later suggested that HIV originated from primates in Africa, which was transferred to humans through a process called zoonosis.


Stem Cell Research

Scientists have been performing stem cell research using blood from the umbilical cords of newborn babies. Through stem cell research, the genetic CCR5 was discovered and proved to offer immunity to HIV. If the person only carries one copy of the gene, they have some immunity, but people who carried two copies of it (one from each parent), then their immunity is much stronger.

There have been many people tested for these rare genetic mutations to the research and testing could move farther in the fight to cure HIV and AIDS.


Meet Timothy Brown

Timothy Brown, also known as "The Berlin Patient", age 46, was diagnosed with HIV in 1995. Later, he was also diagnosed with leukemia. In 2007, while Brown was being treated for the leukemia, he received a bone marrow stem cell transplant from someone who was resistant to the HIV virus because of the previously mentioned genetic mutation.

Since Brown received his transplant, there has been no evidence of HIV in his body.

Does this mean scientists have found what they needed to cure HIV in others who have contracted it? Is this the breakthrough that society has been waiting for?

34 million people are affected by HIV worldwide. Even though there are medications available to prevent the onset of AIDS after contracting HIV, it must still be like a death sentence to some people who have been diagnosed with it.

Prevent the Spread of HIV

While those infected with HIV are waiting for a cure to be developed and available to them, there are many ways to prevent the spread of HIV.

  • Do not use drugs, especially intravenous types. Intravenous drug users should not share needles.
  • Avoid having sex or wear a condom. Those with HIV are required, by law, to forewarn their partners before engaging in sexual acts with them.
  • If pregnant and infected with HIV, taking ARV's during pregnancy and delivery lowers the chance of passing it to the infant, who will also need to be given AZT after the birth.
  • New mothers with HIV should not breastfeed their babies, as this can cause the transfer of HIV.
  • Protect cuts and open sores from coming into contact with blood from someone else.

For more information on HIV, visit


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    • JenJen0703 profile image

      Jennifer McLeod 5 years ago from Battle Creek, Michigan

      Thank you, Jennifer. I agree, this is amazing news. I'm still waiting to hear about the second person they performed the transplant on. I try to Google it, to see if there is anything. That reminds me to look again today, since it's been a month or so...

    • Jennifer Stone profile image

      Jennifer Stone 5 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Interesting hub, and it's quite exciting that new developments and discoveries are happening all the time that can cure these dreadful diseases that haunt the human race! Voted up and stuff and sharing coz it's the sort of thing everyone should know about!

      All the best, Jen

    • JenJen0703 profile image

      Jennifer McLeod 5 years ago from Battle Creek, Michigan

      Thanks for the comments rahul0324 and phelcky. I, too, thought this was amazing news. HIV has been afflicting many for a few decades, and it's time they finally find a cure for it. Future news will tell whether or not this stem cell testing will even work.

    • Phelcky profile image

      Lilly 5 years ago from Denmark

      Very interesting article. It's amazing what scientists can do. Indeed a great read.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      Modern medical research is opening platforms for research and showing opportunities for treatment of conditions like HIV and cancer... in the coming years we can well hope a world without disease..

      Important share :)

    • JenJen0703 profile image

      Jennifer McLeod 5 years ago from Battle Creek, Michigan

      Thanks, Sueswan! I thought this article about Timothy Brown very interesting. Hopefully you're right, and the stem cell research will bring many more treatments and cures in the near future.

      You have a great weekend, too!!

    • profile image

      Sueswan 5 years ago

      Hi Jen,

      Hopefully stem cell therapy is the breakthrough in the cure for aids and other diseases.

      Voted up and awesome

      Have a good weekend :)

    • JenJen0703 profile image

      Jennifer McLeod 5 years ago from Battle Creek, Michigan

      Thanks for checking it out always exploring. Only time will tell if scientists are truly onto what they need for a cure.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a much needed hub. Stem cell therapy is so important, not just for AIDS it is known to cure cancer and many other diseases. Thank you for sharing..

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

      a very awakening share my friend.. and it's so important to share hubs like these.. :)