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What does research say about human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remission?

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Just a few years ago, doctors didn't think that "remission" could happen with people infected with HIV. But this may be changing. In rare cases, people have been able to control the virus and live well long after they quit HIV medications. Doctors and researchers hope to make it a reality for more than just a handful of people. Researchers believe you need a small HIV reservoir and a strong immune system to go into remission. Many think starting medication soon after infection can protect immune cells from damage and stop HIV from setting up a big reservoir.

It's estimated that between 5% and 15% of people who use therapy early can control their virus after they stop treatment. There are reports of long remissions in children and adults who've done this.

From: What Is HIV Remission? WebMD Medical Reference

AIDS.Gov: "Changing or Stopping Treatment," "Overview of HIV Treatments," "Side Effects."

AmfAR -- The Foundation for AIDS Research: "Post-Treatment Controllers: Pathway to a Functional Cure?"

Ananworanich, J. , January 2015. Current Opinion HIV/AIDS

AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention: "Living Below Detection: Another case of HIV Remission."

AVERT: "Working in Healthcare and HIV."

Steven Deeks, MD, HIV researcher; professor of medicine in residence at the University of California, San Francisco, and a faculty member in the Positive Health Program (AIDS Program) at San Francisco General Hospital.

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation: "HIV 101: Understanding HIV."

Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center: "Timothy Ray Brown: the accidental AIDS Icon."

Institut Pasteur: "First case of prolonged remission (12 years) in an HIV-infected child."

National Institutes of Health AIDS Info: "The Basics of HIV Prevention," "Latent HIV Reservoir."

San Francisco AIDS Foundation: "Long-term HIV Remission Case Raises More Questions than Answers."

News release, . Nature

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “HIV Cure,” “Sustained ART-Free HIV Remission.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on March 11, 2019

AIDS.Gov: "Changing or Stopping Treatment," "Overview of HIV Treatments," "Side Effects."

AmfAR -- The Foundation for AIDS Research: "Post-Treatment Controllers: Pathway to a Functional Cure?"

Ananworanich, J. , January 2015. Current Opinion HIV/AIDS

AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention: "Living Below Detection: Another case of HIV Remission."

AVERT: "Working in Healthcare and HIV."

Steven Deeks, MD, HIV researcher; professor of medicine in residence at the University of California, San Francisco, and a faculty member in the Positive Health Program (AIDS Program) at San Francisco General Hospital.

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation: "HIV 101: Understanding HIV."

Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center: "Timothy Ray Brown: the accidental AIDS Icon."

Institut Pasteur: "First case of prolonged remission (12 years) in an HIV-infected child."

National Institutes of Health AIDS Info: "The Basics of HIV Prevention," "Latent HIV Reservoir."

San Francisco AIDS Foundation: "Long-term HIV Remission Case Raises More Questions than Answers."

News release, . Nature

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “HIV Cure,” “Sustained ART-Free HIV Remission.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on March 11, 2019

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What should you do if you find out you're human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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