HIV, also known as Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is spread through bodily fluids and affects specific cells of the immune system. Once the T cells of the immune system deplete, the body can no longer fight off infections or disease. When this destruction occurs, AIDS will result. Over the years, scientists have dedicated a significant amount of time and research to improve HIV protection. This week, a new study has revealed a big advancement in HIV prevention. By suggesting the development of a shot that can be given every one to three months, a person’s risk of infection can be cut.
Currently, the shot has only been tested for HIV prevention in monkeys, but the results have shown to protect them from the infection in two different studies reported. Dr. Robert Grant, an AIDS expert at the Gladstone Institutes, explains that these new findings are the most exciting thing to happen to the field as of late. As both groups of monkeys are showing 100% protection.
In the first study, researchers at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention exposed twelve monkeys to HIV twice a week for eleven weeks. Six monkeys were given the preventative shot every four weeks, while the other six were given a dummy shot. The monkeys who received the fake or dummy shots were infected, however those who received the drug remained protected. These results mirror those of the HIV pill that is currently being used for HIV prevention.
In the second study, which took place at Rockefeller University, eight monkeys were given two shots of the drug and another eight were given dummy shots. All test subjects were exposed to the drug for eight weeks. Their results agreed with those of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The monkeys who had taken the drugs were protected, while those who had the fake shot were infected.
Although this study gives scientists hope that a HIV vaccine can be developed, condoms are the best way to decrease the risk of transmission. However, not everyone wears them, or aren’t carful enough to use them every single time. So other prevention options are still being researched and further studied.
Posted by Lindsey Janof (5)