Immunizations have the power to prevent an array of diseases. Unfortunately, no HIV vaccine currently exists.
There is hope, though: scientists around the world believe that they can develop a safe and effective HIV vaccine. In fact, they are working tirelessly to develop one. If they succeed, the HIV vaccine may be able to end the pandemic.
Here’s what you should know about the possibility of an HIV vaccination.
About the HIV Vaccine
What is a Vaccine?
Vaccines are substances that essentially teach the recipient’s immune system how to recognize and fight off viruses and bacteria that cause harmful diseases. Vaccines for diseases such as hepatitis A, chicken pox, polio, measles, rubella and more are given in doctor’s offices around the world.
Is There an HIV Vaccine?
While there is no vaccine that prevents HIV today, researchers believe they have the power to change that. They have been working on an HIV vaccine for at least the last two decades. In fact, human trials of different HIV vaccine formulations have already been conducted with some success. The trouble is that HIV is a complex virus that changes with alarming speed. Developing a vaccine that combats it is an uphill battle.
The Need for an HIV Vaccine
Estimates suggest that approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. were infected with HIV in 2014 alone. Worldwide, there may have been as many as two million people who were infected in the same year. This demonstrates a clear need to develop an HIV vaccine that can slow down how quickly the virus spreads. With persistence, it may be possible to virtually eradicate HIV in much the same way that polio has all but disappeared. Scientists engaged in the research feel that a preventative HIV vaccine is the best hope the world has for ultimately ending the pandemic.