http://www.ivanhoe.com/channels/p_channelstory.cfm?storyid=24418 Can Your Own Stem Cells Kill HIV? LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- This month, thousands of people will take the test -- the HIV test. June 27th is National HIV testing day. Despite 30 years of research, there is still no cure for the one million people in the United States living with HIV and aids. Fifty-six thousand more will find out they're HIV positive this year. But now scientists are looking inside a patient's own body for the solution. Stem cells could be the key to killing HIV. Tom Gillman watched his partner die from aids. Now, hes fighting it, too. He takes 24 pills a day. A lot of this is a competition between me and it, Gillman told Ivanhoe. Drug cocktails can give a patient more time. Still, the virus always wins. The HIV patients immune system is severely compromised, Jerome Zack, Ph.D., microbiologist and AIDs researcher at UCLA, told Ivanhoe. They may indeed be lacking functional T-cells to stop the virus. Researchers at UCLA are the first in the world to use human blood stem cells to kill HIV. The thought would be if you could replenish their immune systems with new functional T-cells, you might be able to combat the virus, Dr. Zach explains. Scientists would take blood stem cells from the HIV patient -- add a new gene -- and put them back into the patient. A specialized organ in the immune system called the thymus turns them into T-cells, which naturally fight infection. There, they mature, target and destroy the infected HIV cells. In animals, the treatment hit the bulls-eye. They were able to kill HIV target cells, Dr. Zack said. But some fear its too early to call stem cells a cure-all for anything. If you have a life-threatening disease, and theres nothing left on the table, Id grab at anything, too, Derek Van Der Kooy, Ph.D., professor of molecular genetics, at the International Society of Stem Cell Research told Ivanhoe. But you have to be careful that it might not actually make you better. It might make you worse. Gillman is prepared for the worst, but he says he'll spend the rest of his life hoping science uncovers the answer that stops aids. Doctors hope if the vaccine proves successful in HIV, it could also be used to fight other viruses like Hepatitis B and C, Herpes and HPV.