During the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections to be held in Boston on February 22-25, Scientists and medical researchers seem to be in a more optimistic mood to resolve the haunting sexually transmitted disease – HIV/AIDS. During the event, researchers will be presenting emerging tools to control HIV/AIDS, which would include easy-to-use prevention medicines as well as advanced research related to vaccines.
Science has achieved a lot in the fight against HIV/AIDS disease, as an example, treatment regimens which required the patients to take dozens of pills daily, which also had various side effects, has been changed as the antiretroviral therapy requires only one pill per day without any adverse side effects.
The advancement in science has helped the HIV/AIDS infected people to have better health results and they are also less likely to transmit the virus to their partners, once they have been diagnosed with the virus sooner and begin the antiretroviral treatment. According to Boston Globe’s report,
And a daily pill, used for preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), can be taken by people at high risk for HIV infection, such as gay and bisexual men. When it is taken as prescribed, it makes HIV acquisition very unlikely.
The first cases of AIDS were identified in 1983, when there are very less tools to suppress and stop the virus from transmitting to others. Since then, we have come a long way. Today, we have advanced tools to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but the world needs to identify every infected person and get them to therapy. And, forcing them to follow certain rules and take medications on time could also help in stopping the virus transmission to more people.
Dr. Kenneth H. Mayer is co-chairman and medical research director of the Fenway Institute at Fenway Health noted that we need to identify all those people who are at risk of getting HIV/AIDS disease, like gay and bisexual men, who are acquiring HIV but haven’t been infected yet. Putting them on PrEP therapy or preexposure prophylaxis could curb the HIV acquisition. In other words, you can give them an anti-viral medication that will prevent them from catching HIV. Those two things, treatment as prevention and PrEP, are critical in stopping the HIV epidemic.
As of now, over one and a half million people get HIV infection every year and another one million people die of AIDS. Despite having advanced tools, researchers mentioned that the containment of all HIV infected people and providing them virus suppressing treatments isn’t possible due to the complicated regions and the places where there are limited health care resources.
This year’s annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, which will convene in Boston Feb. 22-25 will introduce new preventive technologies to stop the epidemic, at least to stop spreading it further. The event will also witness the findings of two large researches and trials conducted in Africa’s several countries. The trials included the usage of a vaginal ring with antiretroviral medication that was used by women every month during the trials which was invented to protect women from getting HIV infection from their partners.
The conference would decide the fate of these vaginal rings, if presented successfully, it will be having a positive impact on the HIV/AIDS containment process. Medical researchers have also developed more advanced vaginal rings that can be inserted every three months. Meanwhile, new bioengineered antibodies have been tested on animals, that would help researchers to find a way to develop advanced HIV vaccine.
There are HIV infected people with better immune system for decades. They have cooperated with the researchers to develop advances in immunology for the bioengineered HIV vaccines. Find more information on the event here.