Today is World AIDS Day. From the CDC, today is an opportunity for people to work actively and collaboratively with partners around the world to raise awareness about HIV and help us move closer to the goal of an AIDS-free generation. This year’s theme, “The Time to Act Is Now,” calls us to act with urgency to implement the latest high-impact, evidence-based HIV prevention strategies. While a lot of progress has been made to understand HIV and AIDS (several previous posts), there’s still work to be done.
An estimated 36.9 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. As a science-based public health and disease prevention agency, CDC provides support that helps more than 60 countries strengthen their national HIV/AIDS programs and build sustainable public health systems. CDC conducts these activities through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) , the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease.
Recent scientific breakthroughs now point the way to achieving an AIDS-free generation, a goal championed by President Obama in his 2013 State of the Union address. CDC, through PEPFAR, is working to achieve that inspiring goal through proven science, smart investments, and shared responsibility with partner countries.
Global efforts have resulted in approximately 13.5 million persons in low-income and middle-income countries receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV infection in 2014, an increase from 2013. Globally, more than 15 million people are on ART.
New HIV infections have fallen 35 percent since 2000, with 66 percent of the 2 million new HIV infections occurring in sub-Saharan African countries, where women account for more than half the total number of those living with HIV.
New pediatric HIV infections have dropped by 58 percent worldwide since 2000.
A lot of progress has been made in the past 30 years in understanding, preventing, and treating HIV (previous post), and now scientists have figured out a way to essentially delete the HIV virus from human DNA. To date, no cure exists for HIV/AIDS, but new developments from a group out of Temple University, published in PNAS, shows promise for suppressing viral gene expression and replication, and immunizing uninfected cells against HIV infection.
This finding is nicely summarized by the Daily Mail. The scientists have developed molecular tools to cut out the HIV gene from our genome. Here’s how it works:
Researchers based the two-part HIV-1 editor on a system that evolved as a bacterial defence mechanism to protect against infection.
When deployed, a combination of a DNA-snipping enzyme called a nuclease and a targeting strand of RNA called a guide RNA (gRNA) hunt down the viral genome and remove the HIV-1 DNA.
Dr Khalili’s lab engineered a 20-nucleotide strand of gRNA to target the HIV-1 DNA and paired it with a DNA-sniping enzyme called Cas9 and used to edit the human genome.
From there, the cell’s gene repair machinery takes over, soldering the loose ends of the genome back together – resulting in virus-free cells.
This next step is to develop the construct in order to conduct preclinical studies. There is still work to be done in fighting this disease, however, this new cas9 system for editing out HIV from the human genome is a step in the path towards finding a cure.
December 1st, 2014 is World AIDS Day. The theme this year is “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation.” Visit here for more info on World AIDS day.
World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.
The HIV Treatment Works campaign encourages people living with HIV to Get in Care, Stay in Care and Live Well. Today, you can live a longer, healthier life by being in medical care and on HIV treatment. People featured in these videos share how they live well with HIV and how you can, too.
The treatments we have for HIV are extremely effective, and are one of the biggest biomedical research success stories in the last few decades. However, these breakthrough treatments are only effective if they are taken. While there are barriers to access treatment, this CDC campaign shows people how to get and maintain care and treatment.
More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. This campaign features people from across the United States who are living with HIV talking about how sticking with care and treatment helps them stay healthy, protect others, and live longer, healthier lives.
This campaign shows how people living with HIV have overcome barriers to get in care and stay on treatment.