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Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)


Researchers persist in their attempts to develop effective medical treatments to reduce the suffering of those who are HIV-infected or seriously ill with AIDS. Encouraging early treatment is crucial for persons that test HIV positive (Levenson 1996). HIV treatments include two components: first, prophylactic drugs to prevent and treat opportunistic infections, and, second, combination or three-drug combinations (also known as drug cocktails) to directly reduce replication of the virus (Linsk and Keigher 1997). Where available, the antiretroviral drug combinations (protease inhibitor combined with two or more Reverse Transcriptase inhibitors) require strict adherence to a complex drug regimen. The potential benefits and risks of the combinations are great. Many people taking drug combinations have been found to have reduced viral load to levels below the detection limits of current viral load tests, therefore appearing to be no longer HIV positive. However, the virus can easily become resistant to the medications if the regimen is not followed, often causing the viral load to increase. Many people infected with HIV are finding that eating a healthful diet, getting sufficient rest, and drinking little alcohol increase their level of functioning.

HIV/AIDS prevention through education, as well as safe-sex information, distribution of condoms, and needle exchange programs worldwide have greatly decreased the transmission of new HIV cases in many parts of the world since 1990. In addition, officials from many health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), and governments from various countries, have been collaborating in an effort to address the urgent need for an HIV vaccine. Since 1991, these constituents have worked to prepare for HIV vaccine efficacy trials. In February of 1999, Thailand became the first developing nation to announce a three-year, Phase III vaccine field trial, AIDSVAX. A Phase III trial is done to determine if a vaccine is effective in protecting against infection or disease and is an important step in the evaluation process leading to licensure.

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Marriage and Family EncyclopediaFamily Health IssuesAcquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) - History, Modes Of Transmission, Testing And Diagnosis, Symptoms, Treatment, Psychosocial Issues, Global Implications