Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has a very informative op-ed in today’s Washington Post outlining “three bold new approaches” to curtailing the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
“Vaccines have historically been mankind’s best weapon against the worst infectious diseases,” he writes. “But HIV’s unique and formidable nature has presented challenges to the development of an effective vaccine.”
Even as researchers continue their pursuit of a vaccine, Fauci said, more attention should be given to other scientific endeavors that could reduce the toll of HIV. The three most promising efforts underway, he says, are:
· pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP
· universal voluntary testing for HIV infection, followed by immediately antiretroviral therapy to those who test positive as a way to suppress the amount of HIV in an infected person’s body
· and finding what he calls a “functional cure” for HIV/AIDS with drugs that would suppress the virus to such low levels that an HIV-infected person would no longer need treatment
Here’s a link to the full commentary. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/15/AR2009041503040.html?wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter