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Is There A Cure For HIV Yet? #NO

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Doctors in Israel and the medical company, Gomorra, have found a “100% cure for HIV”, goes a post on Facebook. The post is widely spread which is not surprising, considering 36.9 million people were living with HIV in the world as at 2017. In fact, Sub-Saharan Africa (which includes Nigeria) is recognised as the most affected global region with more individuals living with HIV than any other region in the world. 

Although the post does not mention the exact Israeli company, our research shows that the post must refer to Zion Medical, an Israeli company that has received widespread criticism for claiming  to have found a “potential HIV cure”. 

In a press release dated October 2018, Zion Medical says that after using their drug, “most patients showed a significant reduction of the viral load of up to 90% from the baseline during the first four weeks”.

Viral load refers to the amount of HIV virus in an individual’s blood

Now, this is a bit sketchy and sounds like a “wonder drug” because the virus (HIV) is so strong that no single drug currently exists that can reduce viral load. In fact, the approved antiviral drugs usually take about 3 months before a patient can see a significant drop and steady low level of viral load, and these drugs are typically given as a combination of three or more other drugs. 

Moreover, this company seems to be working on its own, independent of reputable national or international health agencies. This, therefore, does not give it scientific validity and makes its claims questionable. Interestingly, an analysis was carried out by Bhekisisa on the claims of the company and it turns out the company may actually be fraudulent. According to a thorough search of Clinicaltrials.gov carried out by Bhekisisa, there is no trial registered in Entebbe, although the company claims to have conducted these trials in Entebbe, a town in Uganda. What’s more, Bhekisisa also found that as well as these inconsistencies, the study also contained numerous methodological limitations. 

That being said, is there a cure yet? NO! 

For a disease which has directly caused the death of 35 million individuals around the world, would we not hear about its cure if there is one? 

The World Health Organisation clearly and explicitly responds to the issue in question in their HIV fact sheet that states “there is no cure for HIV infection”. If indeed there was an HIV cure, the 36.9 million people around the world who, as the recent data from WHO tells us, will not be deprived of this knowledge.

Forget what conspiracy theorists say but the truth is if there was actually a cure, news of that scientific breakthrough will be announced by scientists and reputable organisations that have spent years in health advocacy or who have lost loved ones to the virus. 

It is, however, critical to note that while there is no cure for HIV, with scientific developments and research the outcomes of the lives of people with HIV and the individuals at risk are improved with antiretroviral therapy (ART) which consists of effective antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. Read more about it here

Zuwaira Hashim graduated with a first-class honours graduate in BMedSci in Health and Human Sciences at the University of Sheffield. What is more, she was awarded with the Kerry Ann Salt Memorial prize for her outstanding performance in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Her successes in academia are matched by efforts in the field of public health. This is evidenced by yet another award- Global Engagement Award- from the Sheffield Council for her contributions to the Public Health Intelligence team of Sheffield. She is particularly interested in Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and its policy implementation in Nigeria, having witnessed firsthand the perils faced by the health sector. She currently uses this passion and experience in the field of public health to educate the public via health articles and fact-checks.

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