Rouzioux's colleague, Sáez-Cirión, said about .5 percent of all HIV-positive patients were able to control the virus without medication because of a genetic predisposition, but the 14 people in the study did not have this advantage.
The researchers concluded that HIV-positive patients who undergo early treatment for at least a year have a 15 percent chance of going into HIV remission for at least two years after stopping treatment.
"The probability was 10 to15 percent, which is amazing when compared with the probability of natural (nondrug-induced) control," Sáez-Cirión said.
Still, it's not wise for HIV-positive patients to stop taking medications because they can develop resistance to them, Kline said.
"Those are bridges you can burn that you can never rebuild," he said. "If you just stop treatment or take treatment intermittently, it's very likely that you'll develop a resistance to one or more medications. Once a resistance is present in an individual, it's there to stay. There may be no going back to those particular medications."