It’s HIV Vaccine Awareness Day-How Close Are We to a Cure?

It’s HIV Vaccine Awareness Day-How Close Are We to a Cure?

A vaccine is in the works, but it takes time to produce an effective serum.

HIV Vaccine Awareness Day is taking place on May 18, 2018. It’s a day created to recognize the many volunteers, community members, health professionals, and scientists who are working together to find a safe and effective vaccine to prevent HIV.

So, how close are we to a real cure?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus currently has no known permanent cure. Individuals who contract it do go on to live productive lives, and the disease is no longer the death sentence that it once was, at least in developed countries.

Cocktails of treatment drugs can effectively lower a person’s viral load so that it’s undetectable in tests. This doesn’t mean that the HIV is gone from the body, but that it’s successfully being suppressed. In essence, the virus can be controlled.

Related: These 5 People Are Living With HIV: You’re Not Alone (and It Gets Better)

But a true vaccine to prevent the disease remains elusive.

The good news is that scientists are working on it. At present, a trial is under way called HVTN 702. It’s testing an experimental vaccine regime in South African adults, and hopes to produce encouraging results.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in 2015, 1.1 million people died from HIV, throughout the world. Some areas are hit far harder than others. The WHO African Region, for example, is home to almost 3 in 4 people who die from HIV-related causes.

To learn more about the trial and HIV prevention, click here.

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