Thursday, December 01, 2016
Activists the world over put a spotlight on the AIDS virus on this day.
AIDS has killed 35 million people since the start of the pandemic. Every year, 2 million people acquire the virus, and the U.N. estimates that more than 1 million people die from the virus annually.
A lot has happened since the first World AIDS Day in 1988. Countries in which the topic was once taboo now offer testing and treatment. Mothers with HIV can have healthy babies and live to raise them. Drugs can keep the virus from spreading. More than 18 million people are on lifesaving anti-retroviral drugs that keep HIV in check. And now, scientists are talking about vaccines and a cure.
A large-scale trial of a potential vaccine is underway in South Africa. The study will involve more than 5,400 sexually active men and women ages 18 to 35 in a number of areas around South Africa, a country where more than 1,000 people a day are infected with HIV. The trial will last for four years.