As the HIV epidemic spreads around the world, we face immense obstacles as we try to find a cure. While some treatments have shown promise, HIV often mutates and resists drug treatment; thus, finding an effective cure is essential in order to eradicate HIV completely and save millions of lives who could potentially contract the infection.
Curing AIDS With Technology
We live in a technological age, and this is evident in how we are fighting disease spread. From mobile phone apps that accurately prescribe medication to online training for HIV prevention, technology has been employed in an array of ways to provide health care and information to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.
One of the most exciting applications of technology to combat AIDS is CRISPR gene editing. This technique allows scientists to pinpoint genes that make HIV viruses more likely to reproduce, potentially leading to a cure for HIV.
Another way technology is being employed to combat AIDS is through microbicides. These gel, foam, or liquid compounds are intended as a preventative measure that can selectively kill HIV after exposure.
Researchers have also explored anti-HIV vaccines as a possible means of preventing the virus from infecting humans. These vaccines work by stimulating the body’s natural immune response to HIV, potentially making them one of the most successful ways to eliminate this virus from human populations.
Researchers are exploring using gene editing to create a humanized virus that can be injected into mice and killed without harming their bodies or ability to function normally. This research represents an enormous step in searching for a cure, potentially leading to one-time treatments that would only impact patients’ bodies once.
Scientists are exploring how to utilize crowdsourcing to solve complex problems, such as curing aids. In this case, researchers are asking “citizen scientists” for assistance in deciphering how HIV’s protein-cutting enzyme works and discovering target drugs to neutralize it.
With so much of the world’s population living in poverty, finding effective and affordable solutions to HIV remains a daunting challenge. This is especially true for sub-Saharan Africa, where AIDS remains an urgent global health issue. The rapidly increasing youth population in this region poses a serious threat to HIV spread, and the economic instability caused by COVID-19 could further strain already fragile healthcare systems. That is why it is critical to accelerating the development and delivery of an effective curative intervention for HIV. An HIV cure could prevent new infections, overcome limitations in antiretroviral treatment, combat stigma and discrimination, as well as provide a sustainable financial solution to pandemic control efforts.