STDS can be a very scary thing ― especially now that three of the most common ones are becoming untreatable. While regular testing (if Prince Harry can do it, you can do it too!) can help you stay on top of your sexual health, sans abstinence, there’s no entirely foolproof way to protect yourself. One STD in particular has historically been perceived as being far more scary than all of the rest combined — yep, we’re talking HIV.
Treatment for HIV (which is often a precursor to the even scarier AIDs virus) has advanced light-years since the early days of its diagnosis, with many patients going on to live long and healthy lives thanks to a combination of drugs known as “the cocktail.” Other medication (known as PrEP) is helping to protect non-infected individuals, but there still remains no cure for the sometimes fatal infection ― until now?
A team of British scientists backed by Britain’s National Health Services has been working on a cure, and after recent tests of their progress thus far, it appears they just might have found it.
Their first patient, a 44-year-old male social worker who wanted to participate to help others in his position, showed that after undergoing their therapy, the virus has become undetectable in his blood. Whoa.
While medical tests will continue for the next five years, it has also shown to be effective in the laboratory, as Sarah Fidler, a consultant physician and professor at Imperial College London told The Sunday Times. “It has worked in the laboratory and there is good evidence that it will work in humans too,” she said.
Even so, it may be quite a while before the therapy is available for public use. “We must stress that we are still a long way from any actual therapy,” Sarah said.
For now, the hope is enough. “We are exploring the very real possibility of curing HIV,” said Mark Samuels, a member of Britain’s National Institute for Health Research told the outlet. “This is a huge challenge and it’s still early days, but the progress has been remarkable.”
Fingers (and toes!) officially crossed.
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(h/t Mashable, photos via Chris Jackson, Christopher Furlong + Carl Court/Getty)