Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Potential huge breakthrough in the fight against HIV/AIDS

Many people who know me can tell others that I am very interested in HIV related topics. I have done an internship at an HIV prevention center that focuses on the queer communities within the Austin area. Now that I am back to being a full time college student, I no longer have time for an internship, but I still volunteer my time to this organization when I can. So I like to keep up with all things that relate to HIV/AIDS. A recent article published in the Huffington Post has given me great hope that the fight to stop HIV/AIDS has taken one more step in the right direction.

A medical research team in Australia, lead by Dr. David Harrich, have made some great advancements. Harrich's team has developed, through the use of gene therapy, a HIV protein that causes the HIV virus to turn against itself and stop it from replicating. This will not completely destroy the HIV virus, but rather cause it to remain latent within the body, letting the individual who has the HIV virus be able to live out a health and normal life. And since the HIV virus will remain latent within the body, it will not advance to the AIDS stage. So, in theory, Harrich's team may have officially found a way to eliminate AIDS once and for all. The fight against HIV, however, will still continue.

Harrich's team brings me great hope that someday HIV/AIDS will have a cure. HIV/AIDS is a huge concern within certain queer communities. In my experience, the fear of getting the HIV virus has always been a major issue with me. I grew up thinking that all gay men would eventually get HIV/AIDS. Now that I am older and have educated myself on the subject, this is just a false negative stereotype that is reinforced throughout our society. Even with the gay male community, this negative stigma can still be seen. HIV positive individuals have told me they feel isolated and disconnected with their gay community, due to their HIV status. They feel as if gay men might be afraid that they will get the HIV virus by just being near them.

The fight against HIV/AIDS and the negative stigma that comes with is still a long one to be fought. But with hard work, determination, and the human drive for advancement, we will be able to overcome HIV/AIDS. For more information about the Huffington Post article, click on the link below:

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