© ChiLam Ly via Flickr

Scientists from the Institut Pasteur in Paris announced their success.

A group of French scientists have revealed that by using metabolic activity inhibitors they have been able to destroy cells that have been infected with HIV.

Current antiretroviral drugs are able to treat the disease, and even bring it down to undetectable levels, but it’s still able to exist in the CD4 lymphocyte immune cells in “reservoirs”. And if people stop taking the medication, then the disease can begin to multiply again.

However, the scientists announced that this new treatment could destroy the reservoir cells, potentially curing the disease.

A spokesperson for the Institut Pasteur said: “The antiretroviral treatment used today is designed to block HIV infection but it is not able to eliminate the virus from the body.

“The virus remains in reservoirs – the CD4 T lymphocyte immune cells, the main targets of HIV.

“Thanks to metabolic activity inhibitors, the researchers have managed to destroy these infected cells, or ‘reservoirs’, ex vivo.”

However, the cells that the treatment was tested on were just individual cells, and the treatment has yet to be used on living organisms. So, even if the treatment does work, it could still be years away from being introduced.

NIAID via Flickr

It’s not just the disease that needs to tackled, but the stigma surrounding it. Earlier this month, a study found that nearly half of British men think that people with HIV don’t care if they infect someone else.

Overall, 6 in 10 British respondents to the survey conducted by Mylan – who are currently supplying NHS England’s ongoing PrEP Impact Study – said that they believe people living with HIV “care” about passing on the virus.

Digging into that data, however, you’ll see that around 45% of men believe people with HIV “don’t care” about infecting others. When it comes to female respondents, 36% also agreed with that statement.

“These statistics not only show worrying and varying levels of education around HIV, but also an indirect discrimination as a result,” said Jean-Yves Brault, Mylan UK country manager.

“We hope these results foster conversations amongst peer groups in order to better support the HIV community.

“[We also hope it] highlights the differing levels to which the wider public is educated about this manageable illness.”

Related: 7 facts everyone should know to combat the stigma that still surrounds HIV