The method still has to undergo clinical tests on humans, but experts say the fact that it's already FDA-approved may speed up the process, the New York Daily News reported.
Researchers from Rutgers' New Jersey Medical School said that the drug caused the HIV-infected cells to "commit suicide" by blocking the mitochondria, which is a cell's "powerhouse."
Normal cells actually have a built-in self-destruct function that is triggered when they become infected or damaged.
However, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can disable this so-called suicide feature.
Ciclopirox was shown to reactivate this ability while also sparing the healthy cells.
Researchers said that the virus did not bounce back or return when the drug was stopped.
This is not the case with the available anti-HIV drugs, which keep the virus at bay but do not eliminate it.
The study was published online in the journal PLOS ONE.