Given how much the phrase "HIV cure" has been thrown around, you might start to think that we actually have one.
We still don't -- not in any way that can actually end the global epidemic. But we're getting closer.
Over the past few years, a small -- but very slowly growing -- number of people appeared to have had active, living, reproducing HIV completely eliminated from their bodies. We say "appeared" because most of these individuals ultimately relapsed. However, there was (and for some, continues to be) a period of sustained remission that needs to be studied more.
A wide range of researchers across the planet are hard at work seeking ways to eradicate HIV or prolong the remission seen in some of these extraordinary cases. For that reason, we tend to refer to people with no sign of HIV in their bodies not as "cured," but as "functionally cured" or in "long-term remission." In these cases, the person is often able to stop taking HIV treatment entirely without facing any risks for developing the sorts of health complications that are associated with untreated HIV infection.
And then, of course, there is that one person in the 35-year history of the epidemic who actually has been cured of HIV. And, much more recently, a second person who appears likely to join him.
Here's a quick look at the most solidly documented "functional HIV cure" or "HIV remission" cases we know of today.