Museum of Science and Industry

The HIV pandemic has threatened the health of men and women across the globe for over 30 years. Why, in this age of advanced medical technology, has the HIV virus has thwarted traditional methods of vaccination? The AIDS Vaccine 2012 conference, which just wrapped in Boston yesterday, focused on bringing new minds and ideas to this very question.

Some of the reasons include HIV’s ability to mutate, its prolonged period of “clinical latency,” and the social stigma—both real and perceived—around getting tested for the disease. But there is hope, not in the form of a vaccine, but in the recent FDA approval of the world’s first preventative HIV medication.

Truvada, already used in treatment of HIV patients, has been found (when paired with safe sex practices) to reduce the risk of HIV transmission between partners. While not a cure for HIV, such a medicine may help reduce the spread of this disease, which would be a vital step toward its eradication.

Image: Wikinut

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