A French scientist who shared this year's Nobel prize for medicine said on Saturday he believed the transmission of AIDS could be eliminated within years.
Luc Montagnier, director of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention, told a news conference that halting the transmission of AIDS would make it a disease much like others.
"Our job, of course, is to find complementary treatment to eradicate the infection. I think it's not impossible to do it within a few years," Montagnier said.
"So I hope to see in my lifetime the eradication of, not the AIDS epidemic, but at least the infection," the 76-year-old said. "This could be achieved."
Montagnier and Francoise Barre-Sinoussi shared half of the 2008 prize for discovering the virus that has killed 25 million people since the early 1980s.
There is no cure for AIDS but cocktails of drugs can control the virus and keep patients healthy.
There is no vaccine either, although researchers are trying to find vaccines that either prevent infection or would control the virus so that patients are less likely to transmit it - a so-called therapeutic vaccine.
Montagnier said he hoped such a therapeutic vaccine could be developed within four to five years, noting he and colleagues had already been working on this for a decade.
German scientist Harald zur Hausen won the other half of the $1.2-million award for finding the cause of cervical cancer. The three scientists said that since the announcement in early October, they had found themselves constantly giving interviews.