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How long will it take to find a cure for AIDS?
Sep 7, 1999

Optimistic researchers are hoping for an HIV vaccine, but based on today's knowledge is it any realistic hope to find a cure let's say during the next 10 years? Or is the probability close to ZERO.

And what if they find a vaccine? I guess this dramatically would reduce the amount of resources going into HIV research?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question. Nobody can accurately predict the future on anything in real life situations. We can only give our best guess as to what will actually happen in the future. Will there be a cure for HIV/AIDS in 10 years? Will there be a cure for diabetes in 15 years? Will there be a cure for all forms of cancer in 20 years? Who knows? We will not know when we will find a cure for any disease until we actually find it. But based on our current knowledge of medicine, we can predict that a cure for HIV/AIDS will not come anytime soon.

So far, we have not been able to find a cure for any viral infection. We have medications that make the symptoms and severity of certain viral infections less severe, but current drug therapies do not actually cure viral infections. For example, we have many medications to make the symptoms of the common cold less severe, but we do not yet have drugs that will cure the common cold. Herpes is another example where we have drugs that can make the symptoms less severe, but we do not yet have drugs that will cure herpes. In the case of HIV/AIDS, we have drugs that can slow down the progression of the disease and help reduce the severity of some of the symptoms, but we do not yet have a cure for HIV.

Realistically speaking, it is much more likely that we will find a vaccine against HIV before we will find a cure. This is because we already have vaccines against certain other viral infections. For example, we now have effective vaccines against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, the flu, and polio. Some of these vaccines offer lifelong protection (such as the hepatitis B vaccine), and some vaccines only offer protection for a limited amount of time (such as the flu vaccine which must be given every year). So the likelihood of finding a vaccine for HIV is greater than the likelihood of finding a cure. When will an effective vaccine be available? We will not know the answer to that question until an effective vaccine is actually found.

In summary, nobody can accurately predict when we will find a vaccine or a cure for HIV (or any other disease for that matter). But we can say that treatments are getting better and better. And scientists and researchers are working very hard to find better treatments and vaccines against HIV, and other viral infections.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail me at "nvhotline@aol.com" or call me at (Nationwide). I'm glad to help!



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