One of the best ways to know a trending topic is by listening to the frequent questions being asked on various subjects; such is the observation in the medical world today. Over the past few decades, one of the most recurring questions is whether HIV has a cure or not and whether the medication available to the patients would only suppress or kill the virus completely.
HIV is one common virus that leaves a whole lot of folks trembling when it is mentioned, especially if they have been recently exposed to activities which could make them get infected. Some of these activities include:
- Having unprotected sex with a person who is HIV positive or whose status is in serious doubt.
- Engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners.
- Engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse with a sex worker without adequate protective measures.
- Sharing syringes and various sharp objects with other people.
- Having a blood transfusion without proper checks on the status of the blood.
- Having sexual intercourse with the same gender.
- Engaging in anal and oral sex without protective measures.
HIV basically weakens the immune system because it prevents the body from fighting against other diseases and when adequate treatment or management is not sought on time, the tendency of it developing into full-blown AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is high.
It is important to know that HIV and AIDS are dated back to the 1980s and it was discovered that about 35 million lives have been lost so far, according to The World Health Organization (WHO). As a result of this statistics, medical scientists have put in so much effort to find a permanent cure to this epidemic.
The status of HIV cure
It would interest one to know that there is currently no certified cure for HIV even with the relentless efforts which have been put into finding one. Be that as it may, these relentless efforts have not been in vain because antiretroviral treatments have been developed to assist HIV patients to live a normal life like other uninfected people.
For this reason, a person living with HIV can successfully stop it from progressing into AIDS with the aid of government agencies, medical scientists, public health officials, pharmaceutical companies, and HIV activists.
HIV and Vaccination
In a bid to overcome HIV, it was thought that the use of a vaccine would preserve the millions of lives that are being lost to the virus but research, which is even still ongoing, has not been able to provide a valid one – yet.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease put an end to a clinical trial which was testing the HVTN 505 injection that ought to be an HIV vaccine in 2013. It was stopped on the grounds that the HVTN 505 vaccine did not prevent HIV and could not be encouraged because its purpose was not achieved. Research, irrespective of that, is still ongoing and the world is hopeful that a solution would be found sooner than later.
Prevention of HIV to avoid looking for a cure
HIV awareness is one of the most popular health-related advocacies in the world and this is done because people ought to appreciate the need for prevention. It is actually easy to prevent the virus and a person may never be infected if the following are done:
- Getting tested and being immediately treated for any identified STDs.
- Knowing a partner’s HIV status before having sexual intercourse. The use of condoms in a correct way when having oral, vaginal or anal sex is highly recommended.
- Sole use of syringes and various sharp objects.
Different types of HIV medication
Various medications have been developed for different stages of the virus. These medications even cover those who are not yet infected with HIV (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) and those who are freshly exposed to it (Post-exposure Prophylaxis).
- Pre-exposure Prophylaxis. Commonly known as PrEP is a medication that is used daily by a person who is not infected with HIV but wants to reduce the chances, just in case they are exposed to it. It is usually recommended for various persons among which are women who wish to get pregnant for an HIV infected man and people who have had sex with HIV infected persons in the last 6 months. It is said that PrEP can reduce the chances of contracting HIV up 92% according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if it is consistently taken.
- Post-exposure Prophylaxis. This is also an emergency medication that is used by people who have just been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours. This is said to be used by most health workers during an accidental prick on themselves or when a person has just been sexually assaulted by a person suspected to be HIV positive. The use of this drug might last up to a month.
The question of whether HIV is curable is now answered relatively but the objective status remains that a total cure of HIV does not exist yet. One can, however, effectively manage the condition and live normally with the use of antiretroviral drugs.