Once seen as impossible, a cure is now viewed as a realistic goal by more and more researchers, who argue the epidemic cannot be contained through treatment and prevention alone.
An influential group of scientists gathered this week at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., is committing to a goal that just five years ago would have seemed ludicrous: to cure HIV.
After studying the virus for more than 30 years and developing potent drugs that transformed the disease from a death sentence into a manageable chronic condition, a growing number of researchers now say the search for a cure should be a major research priority. While acknowledging substantial challenges, they argue that the effort is necessary because the epidemic cannot be contained through treatment and prevention alone. And recent medical and scientific advances - including the case of the first man definitively cured of HIV - offer proof that it's possible.