HIV prevention and treatment programs still struggle for funding on World AIDS Day

For as long as scientists have known how HIV is transmitted, they have known that its spread of HIV is preventable and, over the past three decades, numerous public health programs have been established toward this end. Some have been unsuccessful, and some have greatly curtailed the rate of new HIV infection and vastly improved the quality of life for HIV positive patients. But with the global economic slowdown in full effect, prevention and treatment programs are competing for increasingly limited funds, to the detriment of everyone.

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New cooperative programs may jumpstart HIV vaccine development

After the discovery of the HIV virus in 1984, many people both in and out of the medical community assumed that an effective vaccine would soon be developed. And yet, 30 years after its identification, that goal still seems far off. Despite the enormous amount of thought, effort and money that has been spent, many people are forced to wonder why we have not been able to develop a safe and effective vaccine against HIV.

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Where to from here?: AIDS' anniversary prompts speculation about the future

In June 1981, the first cases of a mysterious and lethal illness affecting gay men were reported in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The illness was characterized by a rapidly failing immune system, and was subsequently termed Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

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Is the focus on HIV treatment distracting from the search for a cure?

The introduction of combination anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in 1996 dramatically reduced the severity and high mortality rate associated with HIV infection and yielded the added benefit of reducing mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy. Each “class” of antiretroviral drugs in the cocktail targets a different step of the virus’s replication cycle. So, in much the same manner as defeating an enemy by attacking on multiple fronts, using a combination of anti-HIV drugs proved to be highly effective at blocking HIV from spreading within the body.

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