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    HIV patient cured herself without treatment, study suggests – New York Post

    An Argentinian woman appears to have been naturally “cured” of HIV despite not being on medication, according to scientists who hailed the case as a “rare” hope for the nearly 38 million people infected with the virus.

    The 30-year-old mom has been dubbed the “Esperanza patient” after the town where she lives — and whose name fittingly means “hope.”

    The patient was diagnosed with HIV in 2013, according to research published Monday in the “Annals of Internal Medicine.”

    She never felt sick or took medication, and a battery of recent tests did not find the virus, “despite analysis of massive numbers of cells from blood and tissues,” the study said.

    The findings suggest “that this patient may have naturally achieved a sterilizing cure of HIV-1 infection,” the co-authors wrote.

    “These observations raise the possibility that a sterilizing cure may be an extremely rare but possible outcome of HIV-1 infection,” the study concluded.

    One of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Xu Yu of the Ragon Institute in Boston, told NBC News, “This is really the miracle of the human immune system that did it.

    “This gives us hope that the human immune system is powerful enough to control HIV and eliminate all the functional virus,” Yu added to the Boston Globe. “Time will tell, but we believe she has reached a sterilizing cure.”

    Dr. Xu Yu
    Dr. Xu Yu, one of the study’s co-authors, called the development a “miracle.”
    Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard

    The patient’s case was similar to that of Loreen Willenberg, a 67-year-old California woman who also appeared to have cured herself despite not using antiretroviral drugs in the three decades after she was infected.

    The unidentified woman in Esperanza had been extensively tested by the scientists in Argentina and Boston since 2019, with no signs of the virus.

    Only the presence of antibodies appeared to confirm she had, in fact, ever been infected, the study said.

    Scientists hope to discover exactly what happened in both cases so the knowledge can be used for future treatments and even cures for others.

     Loreen Willenberg
    Loreen Willenberg is another example of an exceptionally rare HIV case.
    amfAR

    “Just thinking that my condition might help achieve a cure for this virus makes me feel a great responsibility and commitment to make this a reality,” the “Esperanza patient” wrote to the Globe’s STAT News.

    Her first child is healthy and HIV-free, and she and her partner are now expecting a second, said the woman, who did not want to be named.

    “I enjoy being healthy,” she added to NBC News in Spanish in an email.

    “I have a healthy family. I don’t have to medicate, and I live as though nothing has happened. This already is a privilege,” she said.

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