A few weeks ago I found out a friend of mine was HIV+. He contracted it from a girlfriend. I am a gay man, and obviously I worry about having HIV. I have never experienced any fevers, and have been largely asymptomatic. That said, I haven't been tested in quite a while. I understand the risks this poses, and am planning on doing home testing with my significant other We had a long, honest talk and determined that neither of us knew our actual status. For him, it is scary... To me (with OCD and Anxiety disorder) it is a living nightmare.

All I've thought about was whether or not I have it for DAYS now. The stress is causing all sorts of unpleasant thoughts, and loss of appetite, but I know this is not NECESSARILY indicative of anything one way, or another. I know the only way to know, is to know.

Even though I don't know one way or the other, I'm still being safe and taking every opportunity to learn about the realities of living with HIV so that I can be prepared for the worst case scenario. I don't want to be blindsided by any of it. From what I've read, though a cure is possible, it's not guaranteed yet. People can , however, live normal lifespans if they are treated early enough and stick to a regimen of medicine and self-care. I know now that while it's not something you would want to get, contracting HIV is no longer a death sentence. I know that the results of my test might rock my entire existence, but I know that it won't kill me. Even though a cure isn't here yet, there are so many promising possibilities out there that one might just happen within my lifetime.

This should not indicate that I strongly believe that I do, or don't have it. I refuse to let myself dwell on either possibility because my chances are 50/50. With Anxiety disorder like mine, to try and deal with certainties either way is dangerous. My encounters were brief and few (4 total), but risks nonetheless. Right now, I'm just trying to put myself into a place where I know I can deal. I'm looking into healthcare options (something I've woefully neglected) and taking steps to put the other pieces of my life back together as I've lived in poverty for as long as I can remember. Every day has been a struggle, now I may have another to take on.

As such, I've been reading.... And reading... And reading...

Here's my question:
(Purely Hypothetical)

As a non-medical professional, I have taken in many of the theories for possible cures and have come up with a very loose theory on how HIV might be cured. I do not pretend to have any expertise, but I have read about the various challenges posed to researchers who are trying to eradicate the virus.

I know that HIV hides in the DNA of your body's own defenses, and after treatment stops, it re-activates and begins to replicate. Since treatments do not attack your cells, only the virus, it cannot be completely wiped out. In effect it is hiding.

One possible therapy involves waking up only the CD4 cells and allows them attack the virus without it being able to replicate. Another involves transplants of new cells into the bone marrow that have a mutation that doesn't allow the virus to take hold. This was in the case of the Berlin Patient, who was undergoing treatment for Cancer as well.

Then it donned on me. Cancer. HIV. Two of mankind's deadliest killers. What if researchers tried siccing the Cancer on the HIV like a bulldog, for lack of accurate medical terminology.

I don't mean literally giving people Cancer to kill HIV. But we DO know how cancer works. What if we tried finding a way of effectively causing HIV to develop cancer? It's hard to describe what I mean because I obviously do not have a doctorate, but the theory is simple. If HIV hides within infected CD4 cells, could we not engineer something like cancer that is trained to seek out and kill the virus AND infected cells at the same time? In this way, the body could produce healthy cells as the damaged ones are destroyed along with the virus itself. The treatment would essentially "tag" infected CD4 cells so that new one could identify them.

With sustained suppression meds, the healthy cells would eventually be able to defeat the virus before it was able to latch on and replicate. Over time, the immune system may even become resistant to that particular strain of HIV, but that is going a little TOO FAR into the process. Even if the type of treatment I theorized was possible, there is no way to tell what the future of a "cure" could mean.

I know that this may be entirely bogus, and utterly rubbish. I swore to become active in this regardless of what my status turns out to be. I was reading, had an idea, and wanted to share. Who knows? It may just be the crazy ramblings of an anxiety ridden individual, or perhaps a medical professional out there might read this and say "Hey, that's not a bad idea. Maybe it could work."

I'm no doctor. I just have common sense (I may not always practice using it, but I do posses it). This question doesn't really need a response, but if you want to discuss it... feel free. Not knowing is horrible, but informing myself helps. It also helps to know that if I do have it, it's not the end. (Though HIV may see it's end sooner than we all think. It's all anyone can hope for. I will NEVER look at this fight the same way again. Even if I come out negative, this is an issue that reaches so many more people than are actually getting the help they need.)
Did you find this post helpful?

replied May 18th, 2014
I guess this was actually a two-parter... sharing my fear and trying to pose a possible solution. I hope this neither confuses or angers anyone. There's nothing anyone can really say. Ultimately, my test results will be what they will be. I'm dealing with it the best I can. Like I said in my post, I'm no doctor, but if people never shared their ideas, we wouldn't have come this far.
Did you find this post helpful?

replied May 30th, 2014
Experienced User
Get tested.
Did you find this post helpful?
Must Read
Do you know what causes HIV? Get started by learning the facts on HIV and AIDS here....
Do you know what puts you at high risk of HIV? Debunk the myths and get the facts of HIV risk factors here....
Can you identify early HIV symptoms. Learn what to look for and when to seek medical help as we review symptoms of HIV here....