Gero Huetter, a German hematologist at Berlin’s Charité Hospital, has reported that a 42-year-old leukemia patient, upon whom he performed a bone marrow transplant, appears to also have been cured of HIV. The patient suffered from HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus) for more than a decade. Twenty months after the bone marrow transplant, the doctor states, the man shows no signs of carrying the virus and has not had to take antiretroviral drugs during that time.
The consensus within the international medical community, though, is one of caution. More scrutiny must be undertaken regarding the results in this case. If, indeed, bone marrow transplant does prove to be a potential cure for AIDS, years of additional research would be required prior to its implementation for that purpose.
A cure for AIDS? Imagine how that would impact on the healthcare community! It would open up an entirely new frontier, expanding immeasurably the already booming area of employment for health care workers. Coders would be needed in vast and ever-increasing quantities as systems retool to accommodate new diagnoses, treatments and modalities. Medical Assistants, Certified Nursing Assistants and Nurse Techs would be required in even greater numbers as doctors’ offices and hospitals would be bursting at the seams to handle the hordes of patients who would be seeking the cure.
While a cure might be in the offing, complacency is definitely the wrong road upon which to travel. At present, early diagnosis provides the only hope for managing HIV/AIDS and testing is critical. According to health care professionals, screening is critically important for IV drug users and their partners, those with a sexually transmitted disease, gay men, pregnant women, those with tuberculosis and all people who are starting a sexual relationship.
Typically, people go eight to ten years without any symptoms of HIV, despite having contracted it. Those who do show symptoms within the first few weeks of contracting HIV usually have symptoms that mimic a severe case of influenza or mono. These can include fever, muscle aches, weight loss, sore throat, mouth ulcers, and rash, white spots in the mouth and white lesions on the sides of the tongue. Neurological conditions that manifest as pain in the arms and legs or numbness can be other indicators.