THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

NIH encourages acceleration to eliminate AIDS

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released statements in honor of World AIDS Day that encourage scientists to speed their efforts to eliminate AIDS as soon as possible.

AIDS cases were discovered in 1981. At that time, health care workers could not discern what the illness was, what caused it, or how to treat it.

Today, there are many efficient medicines that can prevent and/or treat the illness. The elimination of HIV/AIDS and its related pandemic is closer than ever. Eliminating the pandemic means treating all HIV infections with antiretroviral therapy as soon as the cases are diagnosed. Health care workers will also need to apply tools for prevention (like pre-exposure prophylaxis) and interrupt the transmission of HIV from mothers to their children.

“We need to intensify our efforts to connect infected and at-risk people with needed health services to treat or prevent HIV infection,” the NIH statement said. “If all people infected with HIV were made aware of their status and began receiving consistent treatment and medical care, most new infections in the United States could be prevented. Additionally, connecting people to the 'prevention continuum,' in which people at high-risk for HIV infection are regularly tested, counseled and provided a variety of prevention options, could reduce the spread of the virus even further.”

An estimated 50,000 Americans contract HIV infections every year. One out of eight of the total 1.2 million people who have HIV infections don’t know the status of their illnesses, and approximately one-third of the new HIV infections within the U.S. are transmitted from people who don’t know that they are infected. An additional 60 percent of HIV infections are transmitted by people who have HIV diagnoses but no treatments.

Organizations in this story

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9806 Bethesda, MD 20892-9806

National Institutes of Health 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20892

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