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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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Reader Comments:

Comment by: mark (Missouri) Fri., Dec. 27, 2013 at 6:57 am UTC
With the government support to SSM isn't there a concern about an increase in the numbers of HIV/AIDS cases?
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Comment by: Nikki Whitehead (Saint Petersburg Florida) Thu., Dec. 26, 2013 at 7:17 pm UTC
Can a man get Aids from getting oral sex from a female ?
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Comment by: Christi (Kansas City, MO) Fri., Dec. 13, 2013 at 10:27 am UTC
Thank you for this amazing, well-written article and for bringing attention to the world that HIV/AIDS no longer has to be associated with a death sentence. My ex-husband, father of my only child was diagnosed 3 years ago with full blown AIDS and because of these INCREDIBLE advances in research/medication development, he is virtually cured today when only 3 years ago, his labs were so off the charts, we figured he wouldn't live a year. He is healthy today and I thank whatever power exists, that he is still here for our son.
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Comment by: Angel (DC ) Mon., Dec. 9, 2013 at 7:00 am UTC
I agree that it's criminal to intentionally pass this viscous virus. It may not be an automatic death sentence anymore, the changes and sicknesses suffered are horrible. How could anyone wish it on there worse enemy.
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Comment by: Tom Sat., Dec. 7, 2013 at 1:09 am UTC
What a surprise, someone on is admonishing readers not to spit or bite. This website should change it's motto from "The Complete HIV/Aids resource" to "The complete HIV/Aids resource for hypochondriacs".
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Comment by: SEL (Southern California) Mon., Dec. 2, 2013 at 7:40 pm UTC
While having HIV is certainly no crime, it is a crime to put someone at risk for contracting HIV when you know you have it. It is a crime to bite or spit on someone when you know you are infected. All one has to do as ask yourself if you would want someone to those things to you. I think not.

I have friends who think it is okay not to disclose their status and they have spread the disease to others. People should
be given the option to engage in sexual activity with a HIV positive person. In that sense it is a crime not to disclose your status prior to having sex with someone. .
I have a friend who intentionally infected two people. I love my friend very much, but that was a criminal act and I felt so bad because i knew he was having unprotected sex without disclosing his status.

I dont understand how knowingly putting someone at risk for a deadly disease no matter how the risk factor could be considered a crime.. i bet anyone infected would have liked disclosure from their partner if they knew their status.

While there are some very responsible and highly ethical HIV positive people, the converse is also true, so these laws need to remain in place. More importantly, we all need to be tested and practice low-risk protected sexual acts. Some sex acts are too risky to be practiced and I wish this issue would
be brought to the forefront.
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: bartleby Tue., Dec. 10, 2013 at 6:02 pm UTC
biting and spitting might be considered assault or battery, but it's certainly not a crime because of someone's status. you can't transmit HIV through biting or saliva, so it's not considered HIV exposure.

it gets more complicated when you talk about the ethics of unprotected sex. i agree it's not right to try and intentionally infect others. but at the same time, each person has a personal responsibility to protect themselves. when engaging in unprotected sex, you don't know for sure if someone has HIV or not. what if they simply don't know their status? why wouldn't you use a condom every time anyway? if someone says they're negative, would you just believe them, skip the condom and point fingers later? no, you should still be using a condom regardless.

HIV criminalization just doesn't work. it perpetuates stigma. it discourages testing. and it takes all the honus off of negative folks to protect themselves.

not to mention, HIV is not the death sentence it once was, yet it often gets singled out. should we be criminalizing exposure to other STDs, like herpes, hepatitis, Gonorrhea and syphilis? i mean some of these other STDs can also be chronic, life threatening if left untreated, or at the very least a pain to live with. but we don't criminalize those STDs because that would be ridiculous. so we shouldn't single out HIV.

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