More than 2 million people a year worldwide become infected with HIV. If untreated, it develops into AIDS, which leaves the body vulnerable to life-threatening illnesses. Nowadays in many parts of the world, drugs can keep the virus in check.
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For most people, an HIV diagnosis in the 1980s was an automatic death sentence. But many survived for longer than anyone would have expected — like Gerhard from Germany, who has lived with the virus for over 30 years.
At the 23rd International AIDS Conference, a case was presented in which a patient in Sao Paulo showed no trace of HIV for over a year after he stopped therapy. Scientists are skeptical about the case.
A new HIV treatment, injected every eight weeks, is supposed to reduce stigma and discrimination in Uganda. The drug could be a breakthrough for all those infected — if African leaders are ready to invest.
UK medical researchers have confirmed that the so-called London Patient, who suffered from the AIDS-causing virus, has been free of infection for over two years. But they warned against speaking of a generalized cure.
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