In 2008, something incredible happened: a man was cured of HIV. In over 70 million HIV cases, that was a first and, so far, a last. Worldwide, scientists are working to make these odds a bit better. One research approach involves using a drug to activate all cells harboring the HIV genetic information. This would both destroy those cells and flush the virus out into the open, where our current drugs are effective. Another is looking to use genetic tools to cut the HIV DNA out of cells genomes altogether. And while one cure out of 70 million cases may seem like terrible odds, one is immeasurably better than zero. We now know that a cure is possible, and that may give us what we need to beat HIV for good.
Today is World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day is held on the 1st December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.
Globally, an estimated 34 million people have HIV. World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
For more ideas on how to get involved, visit www.worldaidsday.org.
From the TED-Ed Lesson Why it’s so hard to cure HIV/AIDS – Janet Iwasa
Animation by Javier Saldeña