In the 90s, we heard about the AIDS epidemic on every local newscast. Made people were irrationally afraid of toilet seats and payphones even kissing people. Sex became scary and while we don’t see those public service announcements anymore. AIDS hasn’t gone away it’s still a global epidemic to date over 39 million people have died of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Current drug therapies mean, it’s now possible to live a normal lifespan with HIV. But that’s expensive and not a long-term solution. What we really need is an HIV vaccine and a cure.
What is our achievement in curing HIV/AIDS?
Only one person has ever been cured of HIV Timothy Ray Brown in 2007. He was undergoing cancer treatment and was a curative the HIV virus researchers. Still, don’t understand exactly why or how things that he went through to cure his cancer also ended up carrying his HIV. The treatment was rather dreadful and had many terrible side effects and had an expected fatality rate of around 70%. After fighting this virus for nearly 40 years and with only one person cured which was a fluke, we don’t completely understand. It can’t replicate and which would probably kill you we’ve still learned a lot once scientists figured out how the virus works. They needed to figure out how then to eradicate it. But that was easier said than done, you see the viruses RNA invades your cells and changes your DNA.
What are the challenges & What we need in finding a cure for HIV/AIDS?
The challenge was finding a drug that would kill HIV but not your own cells. By 1996 they were able to make advances in antiretroviral combination therapy meaning the HIV was no longer a death sentence like a gang of defenseman dragging down a football player. The drugs work together to stop HIV in its tracks.After killing millions of men and women this cocktail let people live relatively normal lives. Doctors could then take time to look for a cure.
There is certainly an AIDS epidemic that continues, in fact, it is pandemic and proportions throughout the world.
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HIV/AIDS is probably the most serious public health crisis we have had in sub-Saharan Africa in Africa in the world. In fact since the beginning of time in terms of the numbers of people affected. The scope the socio-economic impact of the problem to fix the AIDS epidemic we need a vaccine and a cure a vaccine to stop the HIV virus from spreading and a cure for the people who are already infected. The most significant problem that we face in making a vaccine against HIV is the genetic variability which is viruses that look similar to each other but they are not all alike. So, in making a vaccine we have to make a vaccine that would be able to protect against all the strains of HIV that exist in the body. Also, that exist throughout the world and this is why it’s so difficult to get rid of HIV. Once it infects your body remember the viruses RNA invades your cells and changes your DNA. The antiretroviral (medicine) stops it but it doesn’t kill it. In the future treatments might get even better or more long-lasting, where one could have an injection or an implant of drugs that lasted for months or even a year.
What modern day researchers have achieved in fighting HIV / AIDS?
There are vaccination trials going on now with some success but if you followed science news you might have made this connection already, this virus is hiding in our DNA. We’ve got a new DNA editing technique called CRISPR casts 9. Why don’t we just use that? Well, because CRISPR cast 9 uses a protein called cast 9 to cut DNA wherever it’s programmed to its part of our own cells internal immune systems.Cast 9 could be told to search for a
specific sequence like a bit of HIV and if it finds the virus the cast 9 could cut the HIV out of the cell and let the
DNA heal itself. This can be done today in lab.We can’t yet do it with humans drugs.
So, how close are we curing HIV / AIDS?
To control the virus are still the best way to live a semi-normal life. We can’t say how many years to a cure we can tell
you that there are many many people throughout the world that are working hard on new cutting-edge approaches to
cure. We don’t think we’re close, to be honest, to a cure but we are making progress. It’s our firm belief that we should continue to do research and hopefully, we have some scientific discoveries in the future. To lead
us to a cure. We’ve come a long way but we’re not there yet the research into the fight against. AIDS has taught us so much about how our body functions, it’s taught us a lot about other diseases as well like hepatitis C or Zika and every year there are new breakthroughs in the fight against HIV. There are scientists around the world working on this problem day in and day out.
Why should we immediately go for HIV testing?
Early detection of the HIV can start treatment to help you live a long and full life. So if you have flu-like symptoms or even if there are no symptoms but you have been involved in an unprotected sex with a stranger, then make sure you go for HIV tests near you. As mentioned above HIV is not a death sentence anymore. The treatment like antiretroviral combination therapy works to stop HIV.