News / Health

Plan Would Eliminate AIDS/HIV Within 30 Years

Researchers suggest focusing on anti-retroviral drugs to render HIV-positive cases non-infectious

Researchers at this week's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science have suggested a way to virtually wipe out AIDs over the next several decades. They propose the aggressive use of blanket HIV testing and anti-AIDS drugs.

As scientists continue to turn up empty-handed in the search for a cure for HIV/AIDS, some researchers are focusing their attention on what some consider to be the only real success so far in the war against HIV - anti-retroviral drugs that suppress the viral load, or amount of virus in the blood, to such low levels that HIV-positive individuals are virtually non-infectious.

AIDS researchers with the South African Center for Epidemiological Modeling and Analysis (SACEMA) are proposing a strategy for blanket testing for the majority of the world's most at-risk populations and putting those who are found to be HIV-positive on a lifetime course of anti-AIDS drugs.

The center's director, John Hargrove, says educational programs aimed at getting people to avoid risky behavior have so far not worked very well.  

Increased use of anti-retroviral drugs hasn't helped much either, Hargrove says, because treatment generally comes too late in the course of the disease of many individuals.
But according to a mathematical model, Hargrove says a program of early testing and treatment could turn the epidemic around in three decades.

"If in fact you get people very soon after they are HIV-positive and put them on anti-retrovirals, you reduce the aggregate viral load in the entire population. Therefore you will reduce the rate at which new infections occur," he said.

Success will not come quickly. Hargrove says there will continue to be a lot of new HIV infections for a while.

"But slowly as people die out, as we all do die, and you are just preventing more new infections," he said.  "And the mathematics simply indicates if we manage to do this, if we manage to test people once a year and get them immediately on antiretroviral drugs, this will be the logical outcome," said Hargrove.

More than 30 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS, which claims two million lives each year.

Trials are under way or about to begin in the US, Canada and sub-Saharan Africa to see whether giving antiretroviral drugs to uninfected individuals in high risk populations lowers transmission rates.  In studies of mother-to-child transmission, anti-AIDS drugs reduce the risk of infection from HIV positive mothers to their uninfected newborns by more than ninety percent.

Hargrove acknowledges that some people might consider blanket testing an invasion of privacy, which is why it would be voluntary.

"It would just be suggested to people very strongly that they may want to consider having an HIV test and knowing the result.  And that if they are HIV-positive and if they want to, they will have free anti-retrovirals and they will have it for the rest of their lives," he said.

The program would be extremely expensive, costing up to $3 billion a year in South Africa alone.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid