Reports of two male patients who were seemingly cured of HIV tanks to bone marrow transplants have both begun to show signs of the virus again. This is bad news.

According to Dr. Timothy Henrich of Brigham and Women's hospital, the both the patients had resumed HIV medications after the virus reappeared.

Both of them have been battling HIV for years and had received bone marrow transplants to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma. After the transplants, both the patients showed undetectable levels of the virus. They agreed to stop taking HIV medications to help researchers determine if the marrow transplant was responsible for it going away.

Heinrich said the finding demonstrates that HIV's genetic code stays latent in "reservoirs" of cells, indicating the virus is more persistent than previously realized.

The news is indeed disappointing, but at the very least it adds to our understanding in the fight against the virus.

Other HIV patients seem to remain cured, including a three-year-old child born HIV positive but given aggressive treatment shortly after birth and an adult patient who remains HIV-free after a bone marrow transplant from a donor with a rare HIV resistant gene.

[The Boston Globe]