HIV and AIDS are two of the most devastating viruses you could ever come across. Usually associated with STD’s, HIV and AIDS are two of the most serious diseases to ever hit our planet; the fatality rate is incredibly high. A lot of people have been wondering why a cure for either HIV or AIDS hasn’t been developed yet, as they think that we’re on an entirely new level of technology these days. While we do have a lot of benefits to work with when it comes to technology, there’s still a very good reason as to why both AIDS and HIV haven’t been cured yet – and that’s what we’re going to be covering today.
Plenty of countries are still suffering from these viruses at full capacity, and some of the leading countries in the AIDS department happen to be located in Africa (most of them, actually). Four major countries affected would be:
- Cote d’Ivoire – 450,000 people
- Thailand – 443,100 people
- Lesotho – 358,700 people
- Botswana – 337,700 people
History of the Virus
HIV and AIDS are actually two different things; HIV is essentially the “early phase” of AIDS. When you’ve got HIV, there is a chance that you can still live a long and fulfilling life; you’ll just be taking a cocktail of drugs while you’re doing so. The earliest form of HIV was founded in 1959, although the transfer of the actual virus from animal to human took place dozens of years before that (or so they say). The person who was infected lived in Congo (the Democratic Republic of the Congo); he wasn’t aware as to how he received the infection, and nobody else could put their finger on it at the time either. It wasn’t until 1981, however, that the United States was hit with the infection.
Homosexual men began dying from pneumonia-like symptoms (lung infections), and people weren’t exactly sure what was going on. The CDC described the symptoms in a publication that year, but as the number of people dying increased, so did the need to figure out what these diseases actually happened to be.
In the year 1984, Dr. Robert Gallo (and his buddies over at the National Cancer Institute) finally made a breakthrough. They figured out what it was that causes AIDS, and it just so happened to be HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). HIV is where your body doesn’t have a strong enough immune system to protect itself, so eventually, things just start shutting down. HIV isn’t fatal, but if left unchecked, it can develop into AIDS – which is most definitely a fatal virus.
As soon as people were able to put a name towards the viruses, there was pretty much a full-blown pandemic. People were starting to panic, and there were a lot of silly stories being thrown around – so much so that even the president had to make a statement in regards to the issue. By 1994, people were well aware of what the virus could do to the human body, the only problem is the social stigma surrounding it.
HIV/AIDs in the 90’s
In the 90’s people thought that you could only develop the virus if you were a homosexual man. Little did people know that it was the unprotected sex that homosexual men would conduct in, that was actually infecting that portion of the community (as well as claiming many lives). In the 90’s, if you have HIV or AIDS, people automatically assumed that you were homosexual. The perfect case for this would be Freddie Mercury, who was the lead singer of Queen – he was a flamboyant homosexual man, and also happened to be an incredibly famous AIDS sufferer.
HIV Treatment: Past and Present
These days we use an abundance of different medicines to treat HIV, as AIDS isn’t treatable by any means (we’ll get into that a bit later). ART isn’t exactly a cure (which is an abbreviation of Antiretroviral Therapy), as opposed to a coping mechanism. It will keep the virus in check, just enough for you to go about living life somewhat normally. You’ll live a much longer and healthier life than you would have without ART, and these medicines even stop the virus from multiplying inside of you. This not only makes the spreading of HIV harder, but it allows you to feel a lot more “normal” as well.
ART is recommended for anybody dealing with HIV, no matter how long you’ve been dealing with the ailment. It’s beneficial in so many different ways, that refusing to take part is pretty silly. Some of the drug classes we use these days would be:
- Protease inhibitors (PIs)
- CCR5 antagonists (which are also referred to as entry inhibitors)
- Fusion inhibitors
- Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs)
- Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs)
In the past all of the medicines above would be used and prescribed, but they started off as merely experimental products.
So, Why Can’t We Cure AIDS?
AIDS is a virus that you can look at as a human being, if you were to give it traits, it would be both relentless and intelligent. AIDS is the kind of virus that doesn’t like dying off, and that’s why it has become so fluid in how it works. This virus itself is as evil as they get, because no matter what, it’s always going to stick around. There have been plenty of efforts to manufacture a cure, but none of them have worked.
AIDS is able to completely transform the way it looks and interacts with your body, all it needs is time. If you develop a cure for a certain mutation of the AIDS virus, as soon as you’ve applied it to somebody, it’s just going to mutate again; thus nulling the entire procedure. Think of it as a game of virus whack-a-mole, except the odds of you whacking the mole are impossible. It’s a tricky virus that isn’t going to go down without a fight, and it’s clearly winning the war (so far). That’s why it’s even more important to get HIV tested!