AIDS Vaccine Promises Prevention, Not Cure
According to Reuters, an experimental AIDS vaccine made from two older versions has made major progress in finding an effective way to combat the illness. Development of a commercial application of the vaccine may take more time, however.
The trials were conducted in Thailand and the health minister involved called the outcome a “very important step for developing an AIDS vaccine.”
Although stating that more work is needed, U.N. agencies said that the vaccine gave “new hope” in the battle against AIDS.
The information provided by Reuters stated that The trial was sponsored by the U.S. army and conducted by the Thai Ministry of Public Health. Officials from the two countries told a news conference in Bangkok the risk of infection had been cut by 31.2 percent among 16,402 volunteers.
“The result of the study is a very important step for developing an AIDS vaccine,” Thai health minister Withaya Kaewparadai said. “It’s the first time in the world that we have found a vaccine that can prevent HIV infection.”
While the vaccine helped prevent AIDS infection, it had no effect on those who already had the virus before the inoculation.
Dr. Jerome Kim, a U.S. Army colonel at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland said, “It is the first evidence that the development of a safe and effective vaccine is possible. Although we don’t have all the answers now, it does have important implications for the future of HIV vaccine design.”
Kim said the vaccine might not work in the people and places where HIV is most common — in Africa, among men who have sex with men and among injecting drug users.
Regardless of medical advances in the search for AIDS eradication, behavior remains the dominant cause for the spread of the disease.
While there is hope for a solution to help prevent AIDS, there is no cure. Although the prescription of cocktails of drugs can help control the virus, once infected, AIDS becomes a permanent affliction.
Lowering the alarming infection statistics will require a massive campaign, widely publicized throughout the entire world, that graphically emphasizes the ravaging effects of the AIDS virus. The essence of just how the disease is contracted must be clearly and simply communicated in a language understood by everyone.
The final message must proclaim that even with a vaccine that can potentially lower the rate of infection, the only assured AIDS prevention availble is behavior modification.