Woman cured of HIV

Episode title: Woman cured of HIV Article | Episode 105

Episode summary introduction:

In 2013, a woman of mixed race was diagnosed with HIV. Later, In 2017 she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, which made her a candidate for a stem cell transplant, according to the Journal. This case makes the third person to be cured of HIV, 2 males and 1 female. Her story is different as the method of treatment was different, which we plan on discussing today.

Topic 1:

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases.

  • It’s spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV

  • most commonly during unprotected sex (sex without a condom or HIV medicine to prevent or treat HIV)

  • Through sharing injection drug equipment.

  • Untreated, HIV can lead to the disease AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Topic 2:

There are many different kinds of chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer. They can be used either alone or in combination with other drugs or treatments. These drugs are very different in their chemical composition (what they are made of), how they are prescribed and given, how useful they are in treating certain types of cancer, and the side effects they might have. Many people take oral medication, IV medications or both.

Topic 3:

Remember from an earlier podcast, Stem cells are the foundation cells for all organs and tissues. Stem cells are a single cell that can replicate or become a specialized cell. Stem cell transplants are often referred to as bone marrow transplants. In stem cell transplants, stem cells replace cells damaged by chemotherapy or disease or serve as a way for the donor's immune system to fight some types of cancer and blood-related diseases, such as leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma and multiple myeloma.

Topic 4:

In this case, the patient's doctors chose a donor with natural immunity to HIV with the hope of helping her fight both illnesses. She received blood from a close relative to help boost her system while the transplant took full effect. She only spent 17 days in the hospital and had far fewer side effects than the previous patients that used bone marrow stem cell transplants.


The exciting thing for me is that they used stem cells from cord blood instead of the typical bone marrow. Using cord blood allows doctors to use a partially matched donor. This allows patients to receive stem cell transplants from persons of different ethnicities and backgrounds. The majority of donations come from caucasians, this is limiting when you are matching for 100%, but when you only need a partial match, it opens up more options. This will allow for more patient’s suffering from HIV/Cancer to be treated and even eventually cured.


Show Notes from Episode 015 and Episode 036





Women and HIV





Article link:

https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/first-woman-reported-cured-hiv-after-bone-marrow-tranwoman cusplant-2022-02-15/

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