World AIDS Day is on December 1st, and recently I began wondering what new research or discoveries have occurred since I first began learning about HIV and AIDS in the early 1990's. Here are some of the most interesting and promising research findings to date:
1. Vaccine to Prevent HIV
Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Viral Research Center discovered "two antibodies that can bind to a part of the HIV and neutralize it. Past research has identified other antibodies that also bind to the virus, but these were only able to neutralize 4 out of 10 strains". What is new: these researchers actually found new antibodies (called VRC01 and VRC02), that can "neutralize" nine of out 10 strains. It is incredible, as we may actually have a vaccine to prevent HIV for future generations. For more information: HIV Vaccine Trials.
2. Pill to Prevent HIV
A pill is in development that may actually help prevent or reduce your chances of becoming infected, when exposed to HIV. Scientists have found when women took the Truvada pill daily, they were “73 percent less likely to become infected with the virus”. (NEJM).
This development is being labeled as “changing the battle against AIDS”.
Truvada, is a combination of two drugs, tenofovir and emtricitabine , and is already available by prescription in many countries. It is a type of antiretroviral pill, known as “pre-exposure prophylaxis” or “PreP”.
In fact, a study nicknamed “iPrEx” including study participants of almost 2,500 men in six countres, found “blood tests showed [men] who had taken their pill faithfully every day: the pill was more than 90 percent effective”.
According to the (New York Times), the future for Truvada is promising, as current studies of PreP are underway with about “20,000 volunteers enrolled around the world.
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