Researchers Continue to Search HIV-AIDS Cure

REUTERS/Athit PerawongmethaA nurse tests a blood sample during a free HIV test.

While doctors and researchers worldwide continue to search for a reliable method to cure human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, antiretroviral therapy or ART remains the best treatment for patients.

HIV is still incurable, but the current technology has found a way to prevent the illness from spreading with proper medical care. Through ART, the lives of the patients can be prolonged by keeping them healthy. There are also fewer chances of them infecting others.

Many studies keep a close monitor on the long-term effects of HIV infection on the immune system and other associated diseases. For example, a research conducted by Mark Boyd and his team found out that in more than 27,000 participants, there was an elevated risk of cardiovascular and renal disease.

Researchers have also been monitoring the possible adverse effects of antiretroviral drugs to check on the effectivity of the said therapy. Several others continue to look for that one cure that will prevent the future spread of the infection.

In a study conducted by Timothy Henrich and his colleagues, two patients in different pre-exposure prophylaxis programs were observed. Unfortunately, in both procedures, one undergoing antiretroviral treatment and the other analytical treatment interruption, the patients were not cured.

With the number of individuals infected with HIV increasing year after year, the need to find a working cure has become a race against time. In 2016, statistics indicate an estimated 1.8 million new HIV infections and about 1 million deaths from AIDS-related illnesses. Most of these numbers were recorded from low- and middle-income countries.

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has set the bar high to end the HIV epidemic in the world. In fact, it has established specific targets to achieve high coverage of HIV testing for disease prevention. These also include effective and sustained treatment for those who are already infected.