One of the big questions in AIDS research has been answered: why do some HIV-positive people never develop AIDS? About 1 in 300 people with HIV are what scientists call “HIV controllers” because their bodies are able to control the virus and keep it from replicating, which means they don’t develop AIDS.
According to new research, the answer is that they have a genetic variation that helps their immune system kill the virus. For folks without this variation (which is most people), the virus is hidden from their immune system, so it can replicate. Although researchers are long way from turning this into a vaccine or other treatment, hopefully it’s a step in that direction.