HIV Vaccine

HIV Vaccine

Since there is not a vaccine for HIV/AIDS, the only way people can prevent transmission is to avoid behaviors putting them at risk to be infected, such as sharing a needle.

Many people infected with HIV AIDS have no symptoms. Thus there is no way of knowing with any certainity whether a sexual partner is infected unless they have repeatedly tested negative and have not engaged in risky behavior.

Abstainence or using a condom may offer partial protection during oral, anal or vaginal sex. Only water based lubricants can be used when using a condom.

There is some evidence that shows spermicides can kill HIV, researchers have not proved that these products can actually prevent transmission.

Recently, NIAID-supported two studies that found adult male medical circumcision reduces a man’s risk of acquiring HIV infection by approximately 50 percent. The studies, which were done in Uganda and Kenya, pertain only in the cases of heterosexual transmission. As with other prevention strategies, male circumcision is not completely effective at preventing the transmission of HIV. Circumcision will not be effective on its own, it needs to be combind with safe practices such as condom use.

Vaccines help the immune system to recognize a pathogen so that it can fight it off if it shows up. In face of extraordinary advances in understanding both HIV and the immune system a successful HIV vaccine continues to be unattainable. This why we primarily reley on HIV medications like Aluvia (Kaletra), and combivir.

HIV attacks CD4+ T cells, the most important part of the immune system that coordinates and directs the activities of other types of immune cells that combat intruding microbes. In order for a vaccine to be useful it would need to be able to trigger these cells-a very difficult feat if they are being destroyed by the virus.Scientists have not identified the correlates of immunity, or protection, for HIV and are still trying to design vaccines to induce the appropriate immune responses necessary for protection.

Unlike other viral diseases for which investigators have made successful vaccines, there are no documented cases of complete recovery from HIV infection. Therefore, HIV vaccine researchers have no human model of recovery from infection and subsequent protection from re-infection to guide them. In an infected person, HIV continually mutates and recombines to evolve into new strains of virus that differ slightly from the original infecting virus. This extensive diversity of HIV poses a challenge to vaccine design as an HIV vaccine would need to protect against many different strains of the virus circulating throughout the world. Conventional vaccines have had to protect against one or a limited number of strains.

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