Containing HIV has been an uphill battle. There have been hits and misses in finding an HIV cure, from the development of vaccines for sufferers in different parts of the world, to testing therapies.
A current therapy, called anti-retroviral therapies or ART, targets the very process whereby HIV splices itself into the DNA of T-cells, turning into viral factories which reproduce the virus.
With scientific strides, many people have joined campaigns to explain and instill awareness on what has been an enigma for over three decades.
The Continually Growing Menace
The Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS estimated that around 36.7 million people were afflicted with HIV as of the end of 2015, with over a million dying from complications. UN AIDS recently posted on its official Facebook page a comprehensive country status update on HIV-affected people and the major challenges derailing the provision of services and care to them.
Individuals living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy and the targets over the next two years were factored into the life-cycle approach to HIV.
The sad reality is that in certain countries, such as Russia, widespread ignorance, the stigma for the disease and government apathy have aggravated the “epidemic status” of HIV cases, the international advocacy organization Aids-Free World retweeted. The number of people affected by the HIV virus has been rising since 2012.
Hope Springs in Battling HIV
Elsewhere in the world, a 44-year-old British man with HIV has high hopes that the anti-retroviral therapy designed to eradicate the virus would work on him.
Scientists revealed that in early October, the virus was totally undetectable in the British man’s blood. The trial was undertaken by researchers from the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London and King’s College London.
It is the first therapy created to track down and destroy HIV in every part of the body — including in the dormant cells that evade current treatments.
The therapy includes the use of a vaccine that helps the body recognize HIV-infected cells so it can clear them out. The drug called Vorinostat then activates the dormant T-cells so they can be spotted by the immune system.
Imperial College London Professor Sarah Fidler noted that the therapy is specifically designed to clear the body of all HIV viruses, including dormant ones. She stressed that real progress in formulating an HIV cure is still a long way off, but medical tests will be continued over the next five years.
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