One view (the one I ascribe to) is that quite simply, one attains the path first, and the fruit may not be attained for some time thereafter, but at the very latest before the breakup of the body. So one attained to the path is either a Dhammanusari (one attained to the path by Dhamma) or a Saddhanusari (one attained to the path by faith). They are not yet a stream 'enterer' but they are destined to become one. This of course is not accepted by some traditional teachers who teach the path and fruit are attained within moments of each other, but if I recall correctly, even Bhikkhu Bodhi has had something to say about that, I can remember reading a note in my Majjhima I think it was where he says something to the effect of such an interpretation being contradicted by a certain sutta passage, and it would seem by the given passage that the Path & Fruit are seperate and one can be attained to the former without the latter following immediately after.
I will try and hunt this comment out, for I am sure It's not the first time I've spoken of it.
It becomes a bit murky when it comes to defining what exactly what one who has attained the path is, the easiest way to describe it is that they have a foot in both camps, they have not yet attained the spotless eye of Dhamma, but their understanding is such that they cannot ever fall back into avijja completely, they must at some point realize sabbe sankhara anicca, sabbe sankhara dukkha & sabbe dhamma anatta.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." -