Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (cont.)

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Is there a vaccine for HIV?

To date, there is no effective vaccine for HIV. Several attempts have been made to make a vaccine but all have failed. This remains an active area of research.

What research is being done to find a cure for HIV?

The search for a cure for HIV began as soon as the virus was identified. HIV is probably one of the most studied viruses in history. Scientists have a detailed knowledge of the virus' genes, proteins, and understand how it functions. In fact, the combinations of drugs that make up ART therapy were chosen because they attack different parts of the virus life cycle, causing it to malfunction. However, ART is not a cure and the drugs must be taken for life. Even when viral levels are low, the virus is still present in the body.

One of the problems with finding a cure is that the virus can persist in cells throughout the body and potentially hide in areas that are difficult for drugs to reach, like the brain. New research is helping us understand how to effectively treat viruses in these secluded areas of the body. In addition, those infected cells that persist in the body are being studied to determine how they can be stimulated to produce virus and/or be targeted for clearance from the body by novel therapies.

Where can a person find information about clinical trials for HIV and AIDS?

There are a large number of studies currently under way that involve HIV-infected patients. These studies are registered in a central database that can be searched at http://clinicaltrials.gov.

REFERENCES:

Hall, H. Irene, Ruiguang Song, Philip Rhodes, et al. "Estimation of HIV Incidence in the United States." JAMA 300 (2008): 520-529.

Perinatal HIV Guidelines Working Group. "Public Health Service Task Force Recommendations for Use of Antiretroviral Drugs in Pregnant HIV-Infected Women for Maternal Health and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States." Apr. 29, 2009: 1-90. <http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/ContentFiles/PerinatalGL.pdf>.

Richman, Douglas D., David M. Margolis, Martin Delaney, Warner C. Greene, Daria Hazuda, Roger J. Pomerantz. "The Challenge of Finding a Cure for HIV Infection." Science 323.5919 Mar. 6, 2009: 1304-1307.

United States. CDC. "Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing of Adults, Adolescents, and Pregnant Women in Health-Care Settings." MMWR 55.RR14 Sept. 22, 2006: 1-17.

United States. CDC. "Subpopulation Estimates From the HIV Incidence Surveillance System - United States, 2006." MMWR 57.36 Sept. 12, 2008: 985-989.

United States. CDC. "Updated U.S. Public Health Service Guidelines for the Management of Occupational Exposures to HIV and Recommendations for Postexposure Prophylaxis." MMWR 54.RR09 Sept. 30, 2005: 1-17.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/21/2013

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