The research for finding new treatment and screening procedures for HIV is ongoing. As of 2023, there is no cure yet for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, although there have been some promising updates.
The following are possible treatment and screening options soon:
1. Prevention for Anal Cancer
Many people with HIV often face secondary infections due to a compromised immune system, including the human papillomavirus (HPV).
HPV causes abnormal cell growth; this instance is associated with certain types of cancers, including cervical, anal, and oral. Anal cancer is the fourth most common cancer among people with HIV. To combat precancerous anal lesions, the New England Journal of Medicine found that early detection and treatment of such lesions should become a standard care procedure for HIV-positive individuals, particularly for men who engage in sex with other men. Think of anal cancer screening as the male equivalency of pap smears, the latter of which is used to detect and prevent cervical cancer among women.
2. Possible One-Time Injection Treatment
Many physicians prescribe HIV-positive individuals antiretroviral therapy (ART), which involves taking regular medications. These medications help prevent the transmission of the virus to other individuals during sex while also ensuring that HIV-positive individuals live long and healthy lives.
Tel Aviv University is currently finding ways to find a more economical solution. Through B cell engineering, the body may induce more broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV with a one-time injection. As of 2022, this solution is still undergoing testing, and human trials may be available soon.
3. Possible vaccines.
If there’s one thing that humans proved in 2020, it’s the fact they can engineer the most innovative vaccines in record time. In 2022, the National Institute of Health announced that it’s currently launching the Phase 1 clinical trial of three experimental HIV vaccines. Based on the mRNA platform (like the ones used in Covid-19 vaccines), scientists wonder if such technology may achieve similar results against HIV infection.
4. New possible medication
Another breakthrough in 2022 is that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the medication lenacapavir (Sunlenca) for individuals with multiple drug-resistant HIV-1 infections. This medication can be administered through an injection every six months after its initial doses.
Bottom Line: While the cure for HIV is still not available, the prospects of treatment and screening are positive. Through continuous study and research, we may be able to understand this virus in the long term.