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HIV Returns in Two Bone-Marrow Transplant Patients in Remission — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
December 9, 2013

HIV Returns in Two Bone-Marrow Transplant Patients in Remission

By Kelly Young

HIV has reappeared in two patients in whom the virus had dropped to undetectable levels after bone-marrow transplants, the Boston Globe reports.

The patients had undergone the transplants for Hodgkin's lymphoma several years ago. After the virus became undetectable in their blood, patients stopped antiretroviral therapy. In July, doctors said they could still not detect HIV after 7 and 15 weeks of stopping their respective treatments. But after the virus was detected again in August and November, the patients resumed antiretrovirals.

Researchers told the Globe that the virus' return means that HIV reservoirs are deeper — possibly in the liver, gut, and brain — and more persistent than previously believed.

Timothy Ray Brown, known as the "Berlin patient," also had undetectable HIV levels after a marrow transplant, but his donor had a rare mutation, CCR5-delta32, not seen in the Boston cases.

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