by Jillian Goldberg
Bone marrow donations can greatly prolong and enhance the life of a person infected with HIV/AIDS. When one receives a bone marrow donation they essentially are having their immune systen replaced by the immune system of their bone marrow donor. Thus, a recipient with HIV/AIDS already has a compromised immune system so any “new antibody” will help their quality of life in reference to opportunistic infections. First the recipient’s immune system is essentially destroyed through radiation of other means. They then receive the donor’s bone marrow, this bone marrow will replace their previously compromised immune system. While bone marrow donations are in no way a cure for HIV/AIDS this procedure can prolong the life of a person living with HIV/AIDS and also help their quality of life. They will “re-develop” the HIV/AIDS infection. However there was a study done in Germany in which a man who had Leukemia and HIV/AIDS received a bone marrow donation. Twenty months after his transplant the patient still has shown no signs of “re-developing” the HIV/AIDS virus, even though he has known spots of HIV infected cells in his brain he is not on any anti-retroviral therapy nor has he developed any opportunistic infections. However, there are still a lot of skeptics surrounding this discovery but there is hope that in the future bone marrow transplants may be able to help find a cure for HIV/AIDS.