The 14 ‘functionally cured’ adults still have the deadly virus in their system, but it is so weak their own immune systems are easily able to keep it in check.
This means they are no longer at risk of developing AIDS — the deadly second phase of infection.
The discovery was made at the Pasteur Institute in France.
A spokesman for the institute said: “It’s not eradication, but they can clearly live without pills for a very long period of time.”
According to docs questioned in the New Scientist, the key to success is treating the condition quickly.
For the cure to work, patients must take special antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) between 35 days and 10 weeks after infection.
All of the cured adults fell within this bracket, but later stopped taking the ARVs for different reasons.
They have now been off ARVs for an average of seven years and continue to keep the virus supressed.
Dr Saez-Cirion said: “There are three benefits to early treatment.”
“It limits the reservoir of HIV that can persist, limits the diversity of the virus and preserves the immune response to the virus that keeps it in check.”
Source: The Sun