California woman may be first to be cured of HIV without treatment

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A woman may have been cured of HIV naturally and without medical intervention.

The 66-year-old woman, Loreen Willenberg, contracted the virus in 1992. But according to an interview with The New York Times, her doctors said she is one of the rare cases who have suppressed the virus for decades. 

Two other individuals have been known to have been cured of HIV, but only after undergoing risky, painful bone marrow transplants. While more research needs to be done, Dr. Peter Doherty, director of the Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, Australia, told the Times “I think this is a novel and important discovery. The real challenge, of course, is how you intervene to make this relevant to 37 million people.”  

Over 36,000 cases of HIV infection occur annually in the U.S. alone. 

News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over 5 years. Her work has been featured in national media outlets. You can follow her on Instagram @reportergillis and Facebook @DrMaryGillis.


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