Fighting HIV and AIDS

The number of new AIDS cases declined in 2012, but that doesn’t mean it’s no longer a concern. There are still far too many people living with the disease, and far too many people infected with HIV who are seroconverting, or developing full-blown AIDS. Fortunately, research continues into treatments and cures, and efforts to eradicate the disease are ongoing.

For example, a drug called JQ1, normally used for certain types of cancer, is being investigated to determine what other effects it may have; one of these effects seems to be a reduction in viral load, the amount of the virus found in a patient’s body. Though there’s no magic bullet cure, JQ1 does make a tremendous difference. The researchers believe that while JQ1 does little to directly reduce viral load, it does make other HIV-fighting medications better able to locate the virus in order to destroy it.

Another study released recently indicates that HIV therapy started before the immune system has started to become damaged can prevent the infection from developing into AIDS, and can also protect the patient from infecting a partner. This result came from what was meant to be a ten-year study, but the results were so clear that the researchers chose to make their findings public early

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced what she referred to as a blueprint for entirely eliminating AIDS within a generation. She said that in the past four years, U.S. spending on anti-retroviral therapy for AIDS treatment has tripled. And there have been results, with significant decreases in rates of new infections during that time.

The announcement came shortly before World AIDS Day observances scheduled for December 1st. World AIDS Day was developed by the United Nations to bring continued attention to the condition and its effects, and continued work for a cure. Clinton specifically hopes to stop children from being born HIV positive, which occasionally happens to children born to mothers with the disease. The program will also address other issues that appear to make HIV transmission more common than it needs to be, and work to solve them.

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