Some people can control HIV without antiretroviral treatment, but they are scarce. Scientific studies suggest that somewhere between one in a hundred people with HIV have an undetectable viral load and a high CD4 count for several years. These people are called “HIV controllers.”
While it is not clear why some people can control the virus without treatment, it seems a person’s immune response plays a crucial role in maintaining HIV suppression. It could also be genetics or how the immune system reacts during the early stages of the infection. This has raised the question of whether HIV controllers need treatment like everyone else living with the virus.
Only a handful of studies have considered treatment choices in HIV controllers. For example, one of such studies covered 302 HIV controllers (including a quarter of elite controllers and three-quarters of viraemic controllers). The people in the study have had the virus for five years, never received treatment, and have a viral load consistently below 400.
The researchers followed the study participants for at least five years, and the result suggests that many people living with HIV can maintain that state for many years. In addition, only 30% of participants needed to start HIV treatment in the study because of a decrease in their CD4 count or increased viral load, or developed other illnesses.
People with HIV who are not controllers continue to use antiviral treatment while those likely to contract the illness continue using PrEP drugs like Truvada. Unfortunately, though, Truvada has specific side effects that result in other illnesses in users. This gave rise to lawsuits against the drug manufacturers.
These lawsuits call for legal expertise, and our mass tort lawyers can help you if you suffer one of Truvada’s side effects. Contact us today for more information.