Note: this site last updated in 2006
HIV infection without progressing on to AIDS
An article from "The Molecules of HIV" (c) Dan Stowell
Can we find a way of disarming HIV, so that we could live with it in our bodies without getting AIDS? This might seem bizarre, or an admission of defeat, perhaps, but it's not without precedent. Various types of primate can play "host" to varieties of Simian Immunodeficiency Viruses without disease. In addition, it's commonly held among biologists that the mitochondria, which are little "power-house" components which live inside animals' cells, are an evolutionary remnant of a parasitic bacterium of some sort. Indeed, we all spend our lives with many different types of bacterium living in our guts (our intestinal "flora"), which do no harm and in fact help us.
The recently-developed technique of RNA-interference offers hope that we can have HIV genes in our cells but stop the HIV proteins being made. It seems that RNA-interference might need to be a long-term therapy, though, with people needing RNAi treatment for the rest of their lives, lest AIDS spring up once the treatment stops.