News / Health

Researchers Cite Progress Toward HIV Treatment, Cure

Researchers Cite Progress Toward HIV Treatment, Cure
Researchers Cite Progress Toward HIV Treatment, Cure
Rose Hoban

The focus for World AIDS Day this year is the importance of science in the fight against AIDS. And 2011 finds researchers increasingly optimistic about the prospects of preventing, treating - and someday - even curing AIDS. That's why a group of researchers has written an open letter to the leaders of the United States and others nations, encouraging them to redouble their efforts toward fighting AIDS, even during the current global economic downturn.

2011 saw some important scientific advances. One study, for example, found early treatment of HIV-positive people with anti-retroviral drugs can greatly reduce transmission of the virus to an uninfected sexual partner. Infectious disease specialist Myron Cohen, from the University of North Carolina, designed the two-year trial: HIV Prevention Trials Network 052.

"We were looking at couples where one was positive and the other was negative. And when we treated the infected person, we rendered them essentially non-contagious during the course of the study," Cohen said. "In addition, we saw benefit to personal health. There were fewer cases of tuberculosis among people who started therapy earlier."

But with the world economic situation, financial support for public health research and assistance is waning. For the first time, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis had a budget shortfall.

Cohen said cuts to funding will especially hurt the countries hardest hit by AIDS, and fewer research dollars will slow progress aimed at developing better drugs and a possible vaccine. That's a mistake, he said.

"We're not done with science…" Cohen said. "You know, we got this far with science. Making a vaccine and curing AIDS is going to require another generation of scientists. So, I think we have no choice but to redouble our efforts right now, which I hope we can do."

Cohen said that in wealthier countries, HIV infection has become a chronic disease, and that could be the situation worldwide, provided treatment remains available. He believes more effective ways of preventing the disease soon will be possible, as well.  

That's why he and dozens of others signed an open letter from the Infectious Diseases Society of America encouraging future funding and praising a recent speech by U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  

"I don't know if I've ever heard a speech from a political leader so detailed, so she provided her own view of the details that was both creative and accurate," Cohen said about the speech given at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. "She [Clinton] talked about our need to combine prevention efforts, based on the science that has developed and when you put it together in a package. She laid out an aspiration -hope for an 'AIDS-free' generation."

Cohen saw his first patient with HIV in 1981, and has been working to fight HIV and AIDS since. He remembers when HIV was a death sentence and said he hopes he'll see an AIDS-free generation before his career is over.

However, that can only happen, Cohen insists, if strong research efforts continue.

Worldwide HIV/AIDS Cases

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs