CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Doctors may have discovered a breakthrough in the cure for HIV. This most recent step in science would make for the third person cured of the virus, and the first woman.

While it’s promising news, scientists say not everyone battling HIV will be suitable to receive the treatment.

“I was diagnosed 18 years ago at 21 years old,” said RAIN President and CEO Chelsea Gulden. “Numb. I was definitely numb when I first found out.”

Gulden is now undetectable and has spent 17 years working with others battling with their own HIV diagnosis.

“It’s proven itself to be a difficult one to come up with a cure,” Gulden said.         

The possible cure used on this specific woman in New York this week through a stem cell transplant wouldn’t actually be one Chelsea would choose for herself.

“It is very difficult to recover from,” she said. “It takes months, and some people don’t even live through stem cell transplants.”

In this specific case, the New York patient needed a stem cell transplant for leukemia. While her HIV is now in remission, it will still take a few years to figure out if she’s completely cured of the virus.

“It’s a challenging procedure and costs millions of dollars, the mortality rate is high,” said J. Wesley Thompson, HIV Medical Director for Amity Medical Group. “It’s not something I’d recommend to anyone.  Like Dr. Fauci says, it’s proof of concept that we can do it, but it’s not feasible at this point.”

Thompson has spent 36 years caring for those with HIV.

“Boston did a trial,” said Thompson. “And of the ten men that underwent this treatment of stem cell transplant for HIV, but didn’t have leukemia or blood cancer, it failed for all ten of them.”

So, while this procedure isn’t necessarily one for all HIV patients, it does bring forth a little bit of hope.

“This is exciting,” Thompson said. “It’s one bit of information we can use as we move toward whatever we do discover for a cure. I don’t think that will happen in my lifetime, but it will happen.”

Doctors and scientists continue to make great strides toward curing HIV. But, it will still take time before a cure for everyone is found.

“I am hopeful,” Gulden said. “However, I will say that if this is the cure, I would probably not take it.”

“This is proof of concept for one more way we can fight HIV,” said Thompson. “And it’s important for us to realize that of the 1.6 million new cases found around the planet, this might work for 50 people a year.”