With the HIV PrEP and an arsenal of other tools, experts think we could be nearing the end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
AIDS has taken far too many lives since it proliferated in the 20th century, and researchers are finally beginning to develop new tools to help fight the virus. According to a report from the Boston Globe, experts believe that one of the most promising treatments for the virus, antiretroviral therapy, has come so far along that tackling AIDS is starting to seem rather simple.
What was once a long list of different antiretroviral medications has been simplified into a single pill with minimal harmful side effects that can significantly reduce the risk of transmitting the virus and improve long-term health outcomes.
In addition to a pill that can keep some of the nastiest effects of the virus at bay once it’s been contracted, a recently developed daily pill used for preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) can help high-risk individuals such as gay and bisexual men protect themselves from contracting the virus altogether.
Despite the huge breakthroughs in HIV and AIDS treatments, the epidemic seems far from over – health organizations estimate that over 1.5 million people become infected with HIV annually, and another million die due to complications related to AIDS.
This presents a massive logistical challenge. From diagnosis to long-term treatment, tackling the sheer volume of HIV/AIDS patients is a daunting task. It becomes even more challenging in developing countries where access to modern HIV/AIDS medications is limited.
Researchers have come a long way since the disease first began devastating communities around the world. While new developments have offered therapies that can keep the virus at bay, preventive treatments are still seriously underutilized. This leads to a continued transmission of the virus, and it remains difficult to control once it begins to spread.
The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections will be held in Boston from February 22 – 25 this year, and will present two new emerging tools that could help in the fight against HIV. New and improved prevention medicines can help people who have not contracted the disease to protect themselves as well as developments in vaccine studies will be presented at the conference.