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10 HIV/AIDS Stories That Defined 2013 in the U.S.

December 1, 2013


Vaccine Breakthroughs and Biomedical Prevention

Vaccine Breakthroughs and Biomedical Prevention

The past year has seen a suite of vaccine candidates in the news. Most notably, a possible "breakthrough" in the elusive quest for an HIV/AIDS vaccine was publicly presented at the AIDS Vaccine 2013 meeting in Barcelona. Oregon Health and Science University's Dr. Louis J. Picker presented data that demonstrated vaccinated monkeys could clear simian immunodeficiency virus -- the monkey equivalent of HIV -- from their bodies. The vaccine used cytomegalovirus as a platform.

Human trials could start in about two years. Vaccine trials are also moving forward in Thailand and South Africa that build on the modest success of RV144 in 2009.

On the biomedical prevention horizon: Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, remains one of the most exciting prevention strategies in the toolbox. Daily use of Truvada has shown up to 73 percent efficacy in preventing HIV transmission among men who have sex with men in one study; another showed that HIV acquisition risk could be cut by up to 99 percent with daily dosing. New studies show that gay men are not taking more risks while using PrEP and that it is successful when used by straight couples. But questions remain around access and efficacy for women.

Rod McCullom has written and produced for ABC News, NBC and FOX, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, EBONY, POZ and many others. Read his blog at Rod 2.0.

Copyright © 2013 Remedy Health Media, LLC, Inc. All rights reserved.

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