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Cured: The People Who Defeated HIV


Two men, known in medical journals as the Berlin Patients, revealed answers to a functional cure for HIV. Their cures came twelve years apart, the first in 1996 and the second in 2008. Each received his own very different treatment in Berlin, Germany, and each result spurred a new field of investigation, fueling innovative lines of research and sparking hope for the thirty-four million people currently infected with HIV. Cured tells the story of how we came to arrive at this astounding and controversial turning point.

Praise for Cured

“Holt describes the science clearly...she is among those working to make the promise real.”

—The New York Times Sunday Book Review, Patients and Fortitude


“Her empathy shines through in her prose...This is as important a social history as it is a medical document”

—The Daily Beast, This Week’s Hot Reads


“Deeply researched and compassionately written, the book tells a tale that very few people outside of the HIV community even know about.”

—Kirkus Reviews, Fighting to Cure HIV


“Nathalia Holt‘s engaging new book is quite a pleasant surprise, taking a user-friendly approach to its complicated subject. Not only does it provide the timeline of the advancements to date in HIV cure research, it gives us juicy, humanizing details about all of the players involved...CURED is easy to follow and has engaging insight into the very real people behind the headlines.”

—Mark S. King, author, blogger and AIDS activist


“This book is important...the cases belong to a significant handful that is giving hope to millions of people living with HIV.”



“In this accessible and fascinating account, Holt, a research scientist trained at MIT and Harvard, juggles genetic mysteries, research perils, the agonies of these two reserved and sensitive men diagnosed with what was considered a death sentence...Holt’s narrative brings to light the remarkable early breakthroughs in treating a once fatal condition, but for the Berlin patients, “it wasn’t a cure that anyone would want.” By themselves, Holt notes, “the Berlin patient cases were anomalies... invitations to fulfill... the promise that HIV can be cured.” Their stories, however, are not just memorable for HIV patients, doctors and scientists, but for a society that believes in the importance of their struggles and hopes for their success.” 

—Publishers Weekly


“In a book bound to stir hope, interest, and debate, Holt discusses the science behind what appears to be a functional cure for HIV. Two men known as the Berlin Patients were effectively cured by different treatments in Berlin, one in 1996 and the other in 2002. A research scientist specializing in HIV biology, Holt tells us not only how these cures came about—detailing the personal stories of both men and of the physicians involved—but what the consequences have been for the continuing scientific investigation of HIV and the development of drugs by Big Pharma.” 

—Library Journal


“Educative, thought-provoking and frequently alarmingreading...An astute AIDS retrospective blended with contemporary updates.”

—Kirkus Reviews


“One of the most exciting developments in medicine has been the realization that HIV might be curable. But that realization has taken decades to unfold. In CURED, Nathalia Holt chronicles this remarkable story with clarity, grace, and, most important of all, humanity.”

—Carl Zimmer, author of A Planet of Viruses


“In this exquisitely detailed telling of medicine's desperate fight to control the HIV epidemic, author Nathalia Holt reminds us that all the best medical stories are foremost stories of people - their determination, their courage, and their ability, in the best of circumstances, to rewrite history in a way that protects us all.”

—Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook


"I am eagerly anticipating Nat Holt's telling of the Berlin Patients and the implications of their apparent cure from HIV infection." 

—David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate for Medicine, Professor of Biology, and former President, Caltech


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