Skip to content

    HIV & AIDS Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Will AIDS Always Be With Us?

    By
    WebMD Health News

    Nov. 30, 2001 -- Dec. 1, 2001, is not the first World AIDS Day. It won't be the last -- and experts warn we may never see that day.

    "HIV and AIDS are here to stay," long-time AIDS researcher John P. Moore, PhD, tells WebMD.

    How can this be? Doesn't each year bring news of yet another new AIDS drug? Aren't we close to an AIDS vaccine? Despite progress, the answer remains a firm "no."

    We'd like to think that a cure is possible -- and at hand. We'd like to think that a soon-to-be discovered vaccine will make AIDS go away. The truth is that HIV rages on. It's already devastated Africa. It's out of control in parts of India. It's on a rampage in Eastern Europe. And the early epidemic in China looks awfully familiar.

    "Eradicating smallpox and, almost, polio from the planet by vaccination were massive, long-term endeavors," says Moore, professor of medicine at Cornell University. "Making those vaccines was relatively straightforward compared to the scientific obstacles involved in creating and manufacturing an HIV vaccine. In 50 years we may have one that works -- conceivably so in 10 years -- but certainly not next year. Without a vaccine, HIV will continue to spread through susceptible populations, most of which will not be able to afford the therapies they need."

    Other leading AIDS researchers see the same picture. John W. Mellors, MD, is director of the HIV/AIDS program and chief of the infectious disease division at the University of Pittsburgh.

    "In the next year we will see an expanding epidemic," Mellors tells WebMD. "Recent events will make the epidemic worse, because fewer resources are being put toward control. Let's hope for a miracle -- an effective vaccine."

    Robert T. Schooley, MD, is chair of the U.S. Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group and head of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He suggests that pinning all our hopes on a vaccine -- while failing to treat people dying of AIDS with existing drugs -- is a doomed strategy.

    1 | 2 | 3

    Today on WebMD

    misconception
    How much do you know?
    contemplative man
    What to do now.
     
    research
    Should you be tested?
    HIV under microscope
    What does it mean?
     
    HIV AIDS Screening
    Slideshow
    man opening condom wrapper
    Quiz
     
    HIV AIDS Treatment
    Feature
    Discrimination Stigma
    Feature
     
    Treatment Side Effects
    Feature
    grilled chicken and vegetables
    Article
     
    obese man standing on scale
    Article
    cold sore
    Article