It’s been around for almost four decades and there’s still a lot to learn about this destructive virus. How close are we to a cure?

More than 70 million people have been infected and around 35 million have died. Nearly 37 million people live with HIV/AIDS, including an estimated 7,52 million in South African, 380 000 in Botswana, 320 000 in Lesotho, 250 000 in Namibia and 210 000 in eSwathini.

The world has been dealing with this epidemic for a long time, with many lives lost or disrupted. But don’t despair: experts say there has never been more optimism in the world of HIV/AIDS research. That is why an institution like The Foundation for Aids Research is still confident of reaching their goal – a scientific basis for a cure by 2020.

Perhaps we turned a corner ten years ago when Timothy Ray Brown, or the “Berlin Patient”, received a bone transplant from a donor who had a natural resistance to HIV. Since then, he hasn’t needed any antiretroviral drugs, which stop the virus from replicating inside healthy cells. If it is not making more copies of itself, HIV cannot spread to infect new cells. That means healthier, longer lives for people who are HIV-positive.

Transplanting bone marrow is difficult, drastic and has great risks for HIV-positive patients. But with the “Berlin Patient”, we saw that a cure is possible. What’s more, we now have about 100 known cases of HIV remission. New technology is speeding up research and promises easier and more effective treatment.

There are three main approaches in new research. One idea is the “kick and kill” method: waking the hidden HIV in the body and then destroying it. The second is giving superpowers to the immune system so it can fight harder. The third is genetically engineering cells so they are resistant to infection or can at least do a better job of clearing out infected cells.

The big news in treatment is a monthly injection which should be out in a few years. Also coming is treatment with fewer drugs, making life easier for patients. Researchers found a two-drug routine that works as well as the current three and is less likely to cause side-effects.

Progress has been made with prevention as well. Worldwide, 75 percent of people living with HIV are aware of their status. Getting them treatment has been a huge problem, but now 59 percent are on antiretrovirals. These drugs do not kill or cure the virus but taken in combination they can prevent the growth of the virus. Slowing down the virus, slows down the disease as well.

In October 2018, there was excitement about the first clinical trial of Gammora, a new drug which seems to eliminate up to 99 percent of the HI virus within four weeks. A lot of testing still has to be done before we’ll know if Gammora is the miracle cure. But if nothing else, this news proves we might be close to beating the AIDS epidemic.



For Guidance And Advice From Our Medical Experts use the Personal Health Advisor benefit

SA & Namibia 
0800 00 45 45

Botswana, Lesotho & Swaziland 
+2711 991 8258
CAN WE BEAT HIV/Aids? CAN WE BEAT HIV/Aids? Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on November 30, 2018 Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.