If you feel as if you haven't heard a whole lot about HIV within the U.S. over the past few years ... you're right. Although 50,000 Americans become HIV positive each year and well over a million are living with the virus, it gets little attention from the media. Most news headlines focus on the epidemic in Africa, Latin America and developing countries.
But while news and activism have mostly looked elsewhere, an awful lot has changed about HIV since it was the #1 health scare in the U.S. in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Here's a sampling of some of the biggest developments in HIV that you may have missed.
Myles Helfand is the editorial director of TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com. Follow Myles on Twitter: @MylesatTheBody.
Comment by: Larry
Tue., Feb. 7, 2012 at 11:09 am EST I did not see anything in the article that said Mr. Brown was rich. Perhaps you saw something that escaped me. Or perhaps you imagined it.
Comment by: Mo
Thu., Apr. 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm EDT This might indicate he was rich:
" and the procedure that cured him is expensive and extremely difficult to duplicate."
Comment by: Robin
Mon., Jan. 23, 2012 at 8:00 am EST
I'd just be careful laying on a beach next to people who have it around dusk, as those pesky mosquitoes have a way to passing along nasty diseases. "I don't care what they say", if a mosquito can transfer malaria and other diseases HIV/Aids can be transferred to. Unlike most yahoo's I have a brain, and mine tells me as long as I stay out here in the middle of nowhere my mosquito's are safe.
Comment by: Myles Helfand
Mon., Jan. 23, 2012 at 10:58 am EST I'm gonna hold out hope that this comment was submitted sarcastically. For those who take it seriously, please note: HIV is not transmitted via mosquito.
Comment by: rgard
Wed., Feb. 1, 2012 at 11:38 am EST Myles, how has it be proven that HIV can not be transmitted via mosquito bite?
Comment by: Anonymous
Thu., Feb. 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm EST HIV stands for HUMAN Immunodeficiency Virus. Human, being the operative word.
Comment by: BDK
Fri., Feb. 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm EST Enjoy living in your plastic bubble.
Comment by: Myles Helfand
Mon., Feb. 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm EST Hello again. :)
To those of you filled with mosquito-shaped doubts, I'm going to directly quote the CDC on this one:
"From the start of the HIV epidemic there has been concern about HIV transmission from biting and bloodsucking insects, such as mosquitoes. However, studies conducted by the CDC and elsewhere have shown no evidence of HIV transmission from mosquitoes or any other insects -- even in areas where there are many cases of AIDS and large populations of mosquitoes. Lack of such outbreaks, despite intense efforts to detect them, supports the conclusion that HIV is not transmitted by insects.
"The results of experiments and observations of insect biting behavior indicate that when an insect bites a person, it does not inject its own or a previously bitten person's or animal's blood into the next person bitten. Rather, it injects saliva, which acts as a lubricant so the insect can feed efficiently. Diseases such as yellow fever and malaria are transmitted through the saliva of specific species of mosquitoes. However, HIV lives for only a short time inside an insect and, unlike organisms that are transmitted via insect bites, HIV does not reproduce (and does not survive) in insects. Thus, even if the virus enters a mosquito or another insect, the insect does not become infected and cannot transmit HIV to the next human it bites.
"There also is no reason to fear that a mosquito or other insect could transmit HIV from one person to another through HIV-infected blood left on its mouth parts. Several reasons help explain why this is so. First, infected people do not have constantly high levels of HIV in their blood streams. Second, insect mouth parts retain only very small amounts of blood on their surfaces. Finally, scientists who study insects have determined that biting insects normally do not travel from one person to the next immediately after ingesting blood. Rather, they fly to a resting place to digest the blood meal."
Comment by: Backwoods PA
Tue., Feb. 7, 2012 at 8:47 pm EST "HIV stands for HUMAN Immunodeficiency Virus. Human, being the operative word."
Do you mean like the HUMAN blood the mosquito has dripping from his mouth as it flies on to bite its next victim??
Raise your hand if you want to be the non-HIV/AIDS person to get bit by a HIV/AIDS-carrying mosquito in that experiment.
I don't see any hands.
Comment by: Becky
Thu., Apr. 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm EDT Did you even read the comment by myles helfand? It specifically refers to that fear. Educate yourself in the science of the disease before you spread fear-based ignorance.
Comment by: Sky
Fri., Apr. 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm EDT Listen, The testing that proves HIV can't be transmitted via mosquitos is pretty simple... they take a person with HIV/AIDS and put them in a bubble filled with mosquitos for 30 minutes, then they take them out and put someone else in. So far no one has contracted HIV but each test subject has died of West Nile Virus.
Comment by: Jamie
Thu., Apr. 19, 2012 at 11:56 am EDT God gave me a brain before me gave me the CDC. I'm not spreading hate or ignorance....I don't want mosquitoes biting me, how's that? The whole thing about it being unlikely to be transmitted through mosquitoes is kinda like saying guns don't kill people, bullets do. I interpret the CDC statement as just what it says, despite their aggressive efforts they have not been able to prove the transmission of HIV by mosquitoes. That is not saying the same thing as "we know for sure that it is not possible to transmit HIV through mosquitoes".
Comment by: Anonymous
Sun., Jan. 22, 2012 at 10:08 pm EST
I wish you would inform people that HIV is not Aids. AIDS is AUTO IMMUNE DISEASE Which Millions of Americans have!!! HIV is a STD NOT aids. It is embrassing to tell someone that you have auto immune disease and have them say Oh No! you have aids ( meaning hiv ). This ignorance must be stopped.
Comment by: WTF
Wed., Jan. 25, 2012 at 12:02 am EST AIDS is not AUTO IMMUNE DISEASE...Its Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome - which is a progressive disease as a result of HIV.
Auto Immune Disease is different from AIDS.
Comment by: Jason
(somewhere in USA)
Sun., Jan. 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm EST I have to agree with WTF (atlanta)!
Comment by: Becky
Thu., Apr. 5, 2012 at 12:29 pm EDT WTF is right. Anonymous are you young? Because anyone who came of age in the 90's knows this like they know that Venus is a planet.
Comment by: Jamie
Thu., Apr. 19, 2012 at 11:57 am EDT Good luck with that.
Comment by: Jamie
Thu., Apr. 19, 2012 at 11:59 am EDT OK seriously, Venus is a planet?
Comment by: Keith
(New York City)
Sat., Dec. 24, 2011 at 10:32 am EST
I am elated with he latest news regarding a cure and/or treatments for AIDS. But those morons who think they can pass the virus on indiscriminatly and without prior warning of their HIV status are scum. And those who today deny AIDS cannot result in death are equally scummy and in for a rude awakening. Those idiots who want to give others " The Gift" as some imbecils think, should be shot in the face.
Comment by: tim
Thu., Dec. 8, 2011 at 11:01 am EST
Wait a minute...
You think a law that punishes the infected for knowingly and criminally exposing others to their bodily fluids is ignorant? What if there is blood in the saliva? And even if there isn't its still an especially egregious action.
Anyone who has sex or criminally exposes others to their disease should be met with the very harshest felonies. Its a life or death situation.
Comment by: james
Sun., Jan. 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm EST Case in point here folks. Tim is yet another person living in fearmongerland. Oh the irony of his comments posted here on an article illustrating how out of touch he is.
Comment by: Al
Mon., Jan. 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm EST I bet it is not that uncommon for someone a police officer is arresting to have blood in their mouth from a fight, resisting arrest, or drugs what ever it may be. If that person is HIV positive spitting at an officer puts him at risk. Regardless, spitting on an officer is an assault so I have little sympathy for the person who is HIV positive that does this and cries about unfair treatment.
Comment by: Zak
Sat., Jan. 21, 2012 at 2:10 am EST @james - How can you call wanting to punish someone for murder fearmongery. Killing someone by infecting them with a deadly STD is the same and useing a knife, gun or any other leathal impliment.
As for the cure... we can only hope.
Comment by: Tom J
Mon., Dec. 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm EST
People with aids who knowingly infect other people SHOULD be put into prison..
Comment by: Carl Sagan
Thu., Dec. 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm EST He is cured. His body with the bone marrow transplant now creates blood cells without holes. That is putting it simply. The virus cannot enter these new/different type blood cells and they die off. It's just not a solution for the masses.
Comment by: No really
Fri., Jan. 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm EST They gave him a bone marrow transplant with a mutant strain of CD4, which occurs naturally, which makes these people immune to HIV (they do exist).
It was a big deal. He's off all meds for HIV for 5 years now. It just took forever because, like you, we we're all waiting for it to show up again. Just the treatment was expensive and left him handicapped. He can't work, he gets bad headaches.
Headaches might be related to the "cure" since we believe the virus hides everywhere, and the immune system may be fighting it for a long time.
In the science community, they are daring to say "there is hope". I helped with some HIV research, and HIV will be different from everything we tackled as a species, but we have new strategy from this man volunteering his life.
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