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AIDS Research Holds Promise for Reducing HIV Transmission Rates
Date:12/1/2011

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  • Vaccine research. A long-standing quest of AIDS researchers, the development of a potential HIV vaccine, has continued, Fauci said. The largest-ever HIV vaccine trial, conducted in Thailand, reported in 2009 that people who received the vaccine were 31 percent less likely to acquire the virus. "It certainly is not ready for prime time, but it is evidence that we can protect through vaccination," Fauci said.
  • All of this progress has led researchers to dare to dream of what was once unthinkable -- discovering an actual cure for HIV/AIDS.

    "New interest is growing around the concept of trying to cure HIV and AIDS," Fauci said. "Ultimately, get these patients off therapy so they can lead normal lives again."

    However, he cautioned that talk of a cure should not be taken as a sign that doctors are near the goal. "This is an aspirational hope," he said. "We don't yet have exciting results."

    Frost is concerned that the pace of these advances could flag in coming years as medical research reels from the impact of the global recession.

    "The challenge is, it's all happening against the backdrop of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression," Frost said. "We really need people to support these efforts if we're going to make a difference. Unfortunately, we're victims of our own success. As AIDS becomes more and more a chronic but manageable disease, a lot of the urgency is lost."

    More information

    The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has more about HIV/AIDS.

    A companion article offers more on the emotional toll of living with HIV/AIDS.

    SOURCES: Kevin Robert Frost, chief executive officer, amFAR; Anthony Fauci, M.D., director, U.S. National Institute of Allergy and
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