HIV “cure” not a cure after just a few months of followup

Just 5 months ago, news spread about an HIV treatment experiment, including liberal use of the word “cure.”

The news was about two patients who had stopped taking their AIDS drugs – one for 7 weeks, the other for 15.  The virus had not returned.

Just 5 months later, we should be seeing stories all over correcting the record.

The Boston Globe reports, “HIV virus returns after cure hope rose.”

“Boston researchers are reporting the return of the HIV virus in two patients who had become virus-free after undergoing bone marrow transplants, dashing hopes of a possible cure that had generated widespread excitement.”

The Globe’s story was one of the few followups/corrections I could find. CBS posted one.  So did Fox News.

But why didn’t more journalists put more emphasis on what the researchers made clear back in July? At the time, they said:

“While these results are exciting, they do not yet indicate that the men have been cured,” says Henrich. “Long-term follow-up of at least one year will be required to understand the full impact of a bone-marrow transplant on HIV persistence.”

Journalists are sometimes slow learners.


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