Researchers and scientists all over the world believe that an HIV vaccine to prevent HIV infection is possible. They have been creating them and are working to speed up the process.
In the U.S., the NIAID at NIH enrolled over 28,000 volunteers to be tested for 70 different vaccine in over 117 HIV vaccine clinical trials. To date, the research hasn’t been successful because HIV doesn’t behave like other viruses for which we already have vaccines, which makes it difficult to create a vaccine that works.
How Is HIV Different from Other Viruses?
What makes HIV different is the fact that the immune system never fully gets rid of the virus. With influenza, when people get infected and recover they develop immunity meaning; they won’t get sick the next time they are exposed to it.
With HIV, the human body can’t fully clear the virus and develop immunity. The antibodies that your immune system is making to fight HIV, is actually, targeting, invading, and destroying your immune-system cells and ultimately damage your body’s power to fight the disease.
So far, no person with HIV infection has naturally managed to clear the virus. This is why it is hard to develop a vaccine, because scientists are yet to discver how to encourage a person’s body to fight HIV once it is infected.
Researchers on the brink of finding HIV cure?
Several news has circulated on May 9, 2013 that Danish researchers are on the brink of finding HIV cure. These reports concern the ongoing histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors research conducted by a Danish research team.
HDAC inhibitors were historically used as anti-seizure and mood stabilizer drugs and even as cancer-fighting agents and HIV cure research. Danish, non-Danish collaborators and researchers are in the middle of a Phase I human trial which involves 15 participants.
The trial is ongoing and Ole Søgaard, MD, a senior researcher at the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark and one of the research team’s leaders, said they hope to help inform HIV researchers how to get closer to a cure for HIV. While researchers believe that HIV cure is achievable, it will take years of science discoveries and several HIV cure to get it done.
Legal help for Mississippi AIDS patients
The Mississippi Center for Justice, a nonprofit public interest law firm, is partnering with the University of Mississippi Medical Center to provide free civil legal services at the Crossroads Clinics Central to people living with AIDS. The assistance will focus in housing and employment on AIDS status related discrimination. The collaboration includes the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Crossroads Clinics Central and the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation.
UMMC officials say that they want to make sure that individuals with AIDS can be reintegrated into society. Presently, there are 97 medical-legal partnerships in the country serving 54,000 patients a year.
Drug assistance program
Every year, the US AIDS drug assistance program (ADAP) is providing over 110,000 individuals living with HIV who has no medical insurance to have access to prescription drugs, including antiretrovirals to help them enhance the quality of their lives and are less likely to transmit HIV to others.
Currently, there are 97 FDA approved retroviral drugs for HIV treatment. However, treatment alone will not stop the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The best hope to end the pandemic is by developing a safe, effective, and affordable therapeutic vaccine. An HIV vaccine will help delay the progression of the disease.
Latest on HIV Vaccine Research?
Scientists continue to create and test HIV vaccines in animals, laboratories, and even in human subjects in an effort to learn whether they can be given to people.
In the researchers published finding on HIV vaccine trial in Thailand involving over 16,000 adults showed that a combination of vaccine has lowered the HIV infection by 31.2 percent. Researchers and scientists are now attempting to take what they learned from the Thai trial in order to make a better and more effective vaccine.
Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas