Can HIV be cured in the future?

Can HIV be cured in the future?

The human immunodeficiency virus aka HIV has become one of the most dreaded diseases of all time. Many research companies and scientists have been working to obtain a cure for the much dreaded disease but thus far, there has been no cure found for it. So far, there have been drugs that have been produced to manage the disease from becoming full blown AIDS.

Some of the most popular drugs that have been in existence for the treatment of the HIV disease are:

  • Retrovir, an NRTI (nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor), which were closely followed up by NtRTIs (nucleotide analog transcriptase inhibitors) which both focus on the blocking of reverse transcriptase which is a critical virus that is found in hepatitis B as well as HIV-1.
  • Viread, which is also a nucleotide analog treatment is said to be more efficient than the Retrovir because the latter relies solely on the body to be able to convert the nucleosides to nucleotides but Viread skips the conversion process altogether.
  • Truvada and Atripla are combination drugs made by Gilead Sciences. They are a combination of some of the above named drugs to produce a single new drug. The drug produced is mainly a single fixed dose pill for HIV patients who do not want to take more than a dosage or multiple medications per day.

Some other drugs are being produced in recent times that now serve as challengers to the earlier produced drugs. Some of these drugs that have come up to challenge the long existing drugs are:

  • Tivicay (dolutegravir) is a new type of HIV drug which is an integrase inhibitor produced by ViiV Healthcare. The way it functions is by blocking the viral enzyme (i.e. the integrase) that inserts the viral genome into the DNA of the cell. This blocking cripples the ability of the cell to replicate which in turn stops the spread of the HIV and even other retroviruses in the body.
  • EVG (elvitegravir) and Isentress (raltegravir) produced by Gilead Sciences and Merck respectively are also new drugs that are integrase inhibitors that have been approved for the treatment of HIV. The EVG is approved as a subcomponent of other drugs and not as a treatment that can stand alone while the Isentress is approved both as a subcomponent of other drugs as well as a stand-alone drug. But both Tivicay and Isentress must be prescribed with other HIV drugs as they are not potent enough when used alone.

Therefore, with these improvements that are made daily and with the way the drugs for the treatment of HIV has evolved over the years, HIV is no longer a death sentence to many infected patients. The researchers and the scientists have provided us with the hope that a functional cure where the HIV patients can be free from the virus without a need for an antiretroviral therapy is very possible. Merck, Gilead Sciences and other scientists are all working to identify correct combinations of the small molecules that are capable of luring latent HIV out of hiding. This approach might be combined with others so that the immune system will be able to recognize such cells in the system and even kill them. Even though there is still a long path ahead of us to getting this treatment, the past achievements of these scientists over the years have shown every possibility of a cure for HIV in the future.

Can HIV be cured in the early stages?

Can HIV be cured in the early stages?

No, not yet. The infection caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is tricky, and as of now the answer that best suites the question of whether or not HIV can be cured in its early stages is to lay it out emphatically that there still remains no cure for HIV.

The HIV infection comes in three distinct stages

  • Acute infection
  • Clinical latency
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome

The acute infection stage is the early stage of the HIV infection. Within the first 2- 6 weeks after infection while the body’s immune system is still trying to fight the virus, symptoms like rash, fever, swollen lymph nodes, inflammation of the throat and muscle pain may be experienced.

In this early stage of the HIV infection, new researches believe that it is possible for some patients (if diagnosed within the first ten weeks of the infection) to be treated but the condition lies in the time the infection was diagnosed- it should be within the first ten weeks of the infection.

This result is not to say that there is a cure for HIV infection yet but it does show that there are possibilities growing in finding an HIV ‘cure’. The research shows that a ‘functional cure’ for HIV can be achieved for some patients because as the research states that 14 patients had the HIV infection controlled considerably, having been infected with HIV but diagnosed within ten weeks.

The patients received treatment continually for three years after which they stopped taking the medication. Usually the virus is expected to rebound after the treatment is stopped but the scientist found out that the patients did not show any sign of the virus rebounding even though the patients had been taken off therapy for more than seven years.

With the level of research that has gone on in the search for a cure for the virus, doctors now seem confident enough to be able to prevent HIV from having a grip on the body but once again action must be taken quickly- treatment must be within hours of been exposed to the virus.

Firefighters, police and health care workers who might be exposed to HIV- infected blood do protect themselves by taking anti- HIV drugs- note that there may be unpleasant side effects to the use of any drug just as it may be very effective in preventing the infection caused by the virus.

The clinical latency stage of HIV infection is the dormant stage where the virus remains rather silent; showing no symptom at first but may begin to manifest different symptoms like gastrointestinal problems, muscle pains, weight loss and fever as the end of the stage approaches

Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome stage is the third and final stage of the HIV infection. at this stage, CD4+ T cell count would have been significantly below 200 cells/ µL.

Usual symptoms of AIDS are pneumocystis pneumonia, cachexia and esophageal candidiasis- opportunistic infections thrive in this stage seeing that the immune system of the host’s body would have been significantly damaged.
Since we still cannot say that we have a cure for HIV, it is advisable that you see your doctor immediately if you think that you might have been exposed to the virus.

Early signs of HIV infection rash

Early signs of HIV infection rash

One of the most common early HIV infection symptoms is the HIV infection rash and just like the others, it can also be easily mistaken for other viral infections. Other early HIV infection symptoms are fever, swollen lymph nodes, inflammation of the throat and muscle pain.

The HIV skin rash occurs commonly in HIV patients. Statistics show that about 80% of HIV patients develop the HIV infection rash.

Identifying the HIV infection rash

The skin rash usually appears red and the area of the skin where it appears covered with small red bumps. The face and the chest are the most common places on the body where the rash appears. It also sometimes occurs on the feet and the hands but it can appear on any part of the body.

Along with its red color and the red bumps, the HIV skin rash also comes with itchiness.

What are the early signs of HIV infection rash?

  • Brown or red skin bumps (similar to eczema)
  • Itchy bumps
  • Peeling of the skin

The rash is usually experienced in the 2nd or 3rd week after infection.

What causes the HIV rash?

Though it is associated with HIV infection and could be caused by the virus, at other times it could just be as a result of sensitivity to sunlight and chemicals and in other cases, it could be as a result of use of HIV medications.

Diagnosis; how to be sure

Skin rashes are usually difficult to differentiate physically but in other to confirm that HIV is the underlying cause of the rash, blood tests are usually employed. Two blood tests are usually done, the first test is to determine the number of CD4 cells in the blood, since patients infected with HIV usually show a lower number of CD4 cell count. The second blood test is to measure the viral load in the blood. Patients having a high viral load are also likely to show a decline of CD4 cell count.

Treatment; what to do to reduce the effect of the rash

HIV infection presently does not have a treatment or a cure effective for it, but the effects of the rash can be managed.

In milder cases of the rash, over- the- counter drugs are usually prescribed, hydrocortisone cream or Benadryl are usually helpful to reduce the itchiness and the rash size. However in more severe cases, treatment from the doctor is mostly required.

HIV infection rash may disappear completely after 2nd or 3rd week as the infection moves to the latent or asymptomatic phase.

Other things to do

Behavioral or lifestyle changes could also help in managing the effect of the rash. Heat from direct sunlight can make the rash worse so it is advisable to stay away from direct sunlight. Hot showers and bath can also make the rash worse. It is also advisable to stay away from extreme conditions of both heat and cold.

Other things/ behavioral patterns that coincide with when the rash develops could also be stopped, as it is possible that the rash is an allergic reaction to a particular food, drug or probably the use of a new soap.

We keep looking forward to having a permanent cure and even a vaccine that would be able to contain this deadly virus- as there are several silver linings from different researches.

Why is it so hard to make a vaccine for HIV?

First the question of why is it so hard to make a vaccine for HIV confirms that presently (though unfortunately) there is no vaccine that is effective enough to prevent HIV infection and neither is there any cure for HIV.

However, there are several works still going on in an attempt to find that vaccine that would be able to prevent HIV infection on a commercial level.

The difficulties in making a vaccine for HIV

  • HIV does not cause the disease, it causes infection

Classically, the work of a vaccine is to improve the immunity of the body to a particular disease. How? Since vaccines are made of or contains an agent that looks like the microorganism that is causing the disease (they are usually made from the surface proteins, its toxins, weakened or killed forms of the microbe), the agent helps to provoke the immune the system of the body to always see it as foreign and destroy it any other time it comes across it or a similar form.

In the case of HIV however, HIV is the virus that causes the infection but not the disease. The complexity is that HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) leads to a condition called AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) that continues to lead to greater failure of the immune system. With this condition, the patient then remains defenseless against opportunistic diseases and infections.

  • HIV when killed does not retain antigenicity

HIV remains elusive because when killed it does not retain antigenicity and using weakened but live HIV can be live threatening to the host.

HIV is one of the infectious organisms that are capable of antigenic variation. Antigenic variation means that the organism is able to alter its surface proteins so that it can evade and also cause re-infection since the host’s immune system no longer recognizes it as a threat.

As a result of this property, it is risky and live threatening to the host to try and use a live though weakened HIV virus as a vaccine.

  • Almost no recovered HIV/ AIDS patient

Vaccines are designed to duplicate the natural immunity that was able to fight the virus and AIDS, but HIV remains elusive and finding a vaccine almost impossible because there are almost no AIDS patients that has recovered from the infection.

  • HIV infection is through the genitals

The difficulties in having an effective HIV vaccine mounts as we have a virus/ infection that comes (majorly) through the genital tract.

To find a vaccine that would be effective against HIV we would have to hit another medical advancement because at present, most of the vaccines created protect against infections of respiratory mucosal surfaces and gastrointestinal tract but we still do not have vaccines for other STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) like syphilis and gonorrhea.

  • Rapid mutation

This is probably one character of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus that makes it difficult so far to get a vaccine that is effective against HIV.

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus mutates rapidly just like the Rhinovirus that causes common cold. As we have more research, we expect that scientist will find a vaccine capable of handling this deadly virus on a commercial scale.

There are even researches that hint on the possibility of cats holding the keys to vaccine that we so much long to find.

Is There A Vaccine For HIV?

Is there really a vaccine for HIV? Many people ask this question either to protect themselves against the virus or to treat themselves of the virus. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a lentivirus which is a slowly replicating retrovirus that causes AIDS. AIDS is a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows many other diseases, infections and cancers that are life threatening to thrive. HIV is transferred and contracted by the transfer of blood, body fluids like semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk or even pre-ejaculate fluids.

An HIV vaccine is one that protects those that are not infected with HIV from contracting the virus or it may otherwise be a therapy for those that already have been infected with HIV/AIDS. There have been a lot of research works that has been going on over the years in order to find a cure for people who have been infected with the virus already and for others who just need a preventive measure against the virus. Over the years, vaccines have proven to be the best forms of weapon against the deadliest infectious diseases such as smallpox, polio, measles, yellow fever and many others but thus far, there have been no successful vaccine for the cure of HIV. The major problem has been that the virus has a distinct way of evading the human immune system and the system in turn does not have the capacity in itself to create an effective immune defence against it. This has become a major dilemma for the scientists in their research because they are not clear about what exactly is needed to provide the human body with the protection it needs against the virus.

Some scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have made a nanoparticle that they claim to effectively carry vaccines and deliver it to the lungs in order to prevent against lots of infectious diseases. This nanoparticle is claimed to protect against diseases such as respiratory diseases like flu, sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, herpes and the human papilloma virus. The nanoparticle works by shielding the vaccine for a long period of time in order to generate a strong immune response in the human lungs and the mucosal surfaces away from where the vaccination took place (i.e. the gastrointestinal tracts and the reproductive system). In other words, the vaccine proteins are retained in the lungs just long enough for the immune cells lining the walls of the lungs to grab them and transport them to the T cells. These cells now form a memory of the vaccine particles such that when an infection is detected again, it is there to always respond.

The setback here though is that there are very few mucosal vaccines that are approved for the use by humans; therefore these scientists and the researchers are still working on a better way of delivering the vaccines into the human body.

Some other researchers from university of Florida have claimed that blood from patients infected with HIV have an immune response against feline AIDS. Therefore, they are currently working on a T cell based HIV vaccine that will activate an immune response from the individuals with the feline AIDS virus. And although the researchers believe that their findings could lead to a new vaccine development for HIV, there have been some arguments about the vaccine.

HIV cure 2013 bee venom

A recent study has shown that Melittin, which is a powerful toxin found in bee venom is able to destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The normal cells remain intact when Melittin destroys HIV cells. Together with the protective bumpers that are added to nanoparticles surface loaded with Melittin, when they come into contact with normal cells that tend to be quite larger, the nanoparticles do not attach themselves to the cells. Instead, they bounce off.

Unlike most anti-HIV drugs that only inhibit the ability of the virus to replicate and therefore they do not help in stopping the initial infection, the bee venom toxin is different since it attacks an essential part of the virus’ structure. Melittin forms small pore-like complexes and also ruptures the envelope stripping it away from the virus.

Since the bee venom attacks an inherent physical property of the virus, it suppresses the virus’ ability to adapt. The virus has to have a double-layered protective coat that covers it, but Melittin has the capability to destroy double-layered membranes indiscriminately. So when the covering is destroyed, it implies that the virus is destroyed too. Apart from HIV, hepatitis B and C among other several other viruses also have the same type of protective envelopes that could be destroyed with nanoparticles loaded with Melittin.

The Melittin loaded particles could be used in vaginal sperm in order to prevent the spread of HIV infection. The gel has the potential to target sperm, and as a result it can be used as a contraceptive medication. For couples whereby one of them has HIV and they want to have a baby, the nanoparticles will be more suitable for sperm as well as for vaginal cells.

Melittin is known to degrade cell membranes but from a study that was carried out using human healthy cells obtained from vaginal walls, the cells were not perturbed by the treatment. This is because the nanoparticles that hold Melittin are equipped with protective structures that are found on their outsides. These protective structures act as bumpers that do not allow the nanoparticles, and most specifically the toxin contained in them, from coming into contact with the cell membrane. When that is done, the nanoparticles have the capability to bind to quite smaller virus using a specific key-and-lock structure that fits on the protein shell of the virus.  

Chances that bee venom could cure HIV are high because bee stings have been found to be very medicinal. Studies have shown that a farmer who gets stung every now and then by bees does not get ill most often. This is because the bee stings take way the ailments and enhance the immunity. Another study that was carried out by administering bee venom on a number of people who had pains in various parts of the body indicated that pains of all the recipients stopped after some time.

But before bee venom becomes a fully working drug, much still needs to be mastered. Special attention and care has to be taken in order to reproduce nanoparticles in a homogenous and robust way so as to guarantee uniformity of the drug.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET HIV TEST RESULTS?

HIV or the Human Immunodeficiency virus is mostly spread through sexual transmission via semen, blood or vagina fluids. Infection can also take place through hypodermic needles among drug users, mother to child during pregnancy or birth, breast milk and blood transfusions. The immune system becomes susceptible to diseases and infections which later develop to AIDS. If detected early, the onset of the HIV virus can be delayed by use of preventive drugs also known as the antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Diagnosis of HIV is done through blood or body fluid tests. The results of the test may be instant or can take up to three weeks. There is a wide variety of testing methods available today.

The kind of HIV test that you take determines the length of time it will take for you to get the HIV test results.
Here are some types of HIV test and the time it may take for you to get the results.

a. Rapid or antibody tests. This test requires only a small amount of blood or oral fluid. The results take from 15 to 20 minutes.

b. EIA or Enzyme Immunoassay test uses oral fluid, blood or urine to test for antibodies. Results take approximately 1 week.

c. PCR, Polymerase Chain Reaction Test also known as HIV NAAT or load test, detects the HIV genetic material. Results take 1 to 3 weeks.

d. Home testing kits or sample collection kits are available in drug stores. A sample is collected and posted to a lab. This type of test produces results in 2 weeks. Also available is the Home self-testing kit. It is rapid with results out in 20 minutes.

e. EIA or Elisa test uses an enzyme linked assay to detect HIV virus in the antibodies, antigens and hormones. It is highly sensitive and very accurate. Test results are out in 1 week.

f. RNA tests is a type of testing using the polymerase chain reaction. It is mostly done on babies. It is costly and results can take up to 3 weeks.

g. The HIV combination test detects two types of viruses, HIV 1 or HIV 2. It uses chemiluminiscence to detect the presence of P24 proteins. Results are available in 1 week.

h. The Western Blot Assay test and the line assay test are rated as the most accurate antibody tests available today. There is also the Immunofluorescence Assay test which detects HIV antibodies using a microscope. Results are out between 1 to 2 weeks.

i. The fourth generation HIV tests combines antigen P24 and antibody tests enabling a more accurate HIV test result. Results expected in 1 week.

Apparently, the question of How long does it take to get HIV test results, depends on an individual’s choice. Whether it is a rapid instant test, a home test or a clinical laboratory test, or if the results are negative or positive, a follow up test is a must for final confirmation. HIV is a life threatening disease with no known cure and the disease progression varies with the age, immunity of the infected person, access to a healthcare institution, other existing infections and the genetic makeup. Opportunistic infections range from tuberculosis, Kaposi’s sarcoma, lung, cervical, neck, head cancers, diarrhea, persistent coughs, fevers, chills, low energy, lack of appetite, vomiting and weight loss.

Can hiv be transmitted through kissing?

Kissing is the art of expressing affection between two or more people by pressing each other’s lips affectionately. A kiss is generally used to express gestures of affection, passion, love, friendship, good luck, greeting, respect or even peace between people. In religious circles, it is used to express the symbolic gesture of devotion and respect to the deities. Moreover, numerous studies have been made about the art of kissing and its relevance to the people involved more so amongst couples. It has since been observed that couples that tend to kiss a lot mostly quarrel less as opposed to those who don’t regularly kiss or those who don’t kiss at all in their relationships.

However, despite the fact that kissing is an important ingredient in the bonding of couples, some people are somehow skeptical about this kind of bonding. While they cite that it is healthy for couples to express their affection between each other in this way, they are a little bit concerned about the side effects of kissing. Their major worry about this art is can HIV be transmitted through kissing? Some call it the kiss of death since kissing like any other type of exchange of bodily fluids, can transmit the HIV virus. They argue that well, the saliva is also a bodily fluid. So why shouldn’t it transmit the HIV virus as well?

Following this, research has been conducted by doctors all across the world in order to settle this argument. While it was observed that the virus predominantly thrives in the bodily fluids like the blood, the plasma, semen, vaginal fluids and the mucus linings of the body, the virus does not thrive well in human saliva like in the rest of the bodily fluids. The doctors further let us rack our brains by posing this question, “Can HIV be transmitted through kissing?” Certainly, it does not. Think about how the rates of new infections would be like if it were so since so many people kiss a lot?

In addition, the medics have explained that concentration levels of the infectious HIV virus in the saliva are way too low to pose any health risk to any individual enjoying their kisses. The medics explain that the human saliva contains some proteins that make it to be quite extremely poor to be able to carry any HIV virus. As a result of this saliva does not contain the deadly HIV virus. So whatever a person decides to do with their mouths together with their partners, infected or not, whether they decide on kiss, sucking each other’s mouths, licking of each other’s mouths, lips or the tongue, both of them are basically safe from the transmission of the HIV virus to each other.

However, caution must be taken against kissing an infected partner who has some kind of mouth infection. Infections such as Scurvy, the development of sores around the lips or in the mouth of the person or any kind of general injury to the mouth of the person that causes them to bleed from the mouth, the kissing action could lead to the HIV infection to the un-infected partner. The HIV virus is only transmitted through the exchange of the bodily fluids like blood. When kissing an infected partner and he/she is bleeding from their mouth, the virus would get from their blood, across the mucus lining of the mouth of the un-infected partner and then into your blood stream. This is the only way the infected partner can infect the un-infected partner through kissing each other.

HIV SYMPTOMS IN MEN AFTER 2 WEEKS

Some individuals with HIV infections show HIV symptoms within the first 2 to 6 weeks after the retrovirus infection. Intense retroviral syndrome symptoms are then manifested at later stages. Essentially, HIV infections manifest in distinct way in different individuals. A few researchers accept that rash and fevers are the principle signs of HIV infection in its early stage, particularly when it manifest in a mixture of one or more illnesses.

The early signs of HIV infection in men after 2 weeks (or more) of infection can show up as your common cold, rashes or fever. Some individuals can experience frequent fever, inability to eat, joint and body aches. Other normal HIV infection indications can be sore throat, muscle torment, swollen lymph nodes, nausea, weakness, migraine or headaches, oral or genital ulcers.

All these symptoms can show up within days or weeks after infection as early HIV infection symptoms in few individuals and in some persons, no sign is seen at all until years after infection (it can take 8 to 10 years in some cases).

Many of the manifested symptoms are treated for what they appear to be without taking medical Test HIV; this gives room for the HIV retrovirus to keep spreading in the infected individual. If the infected person continues to ignore these conditions and leave the HIV Infection untreated, the body immune system gets weaker and the illness advances to AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome).

AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV infection that is left untreated for so long (length of time for HIV to advance to AIDS varies in individuals). Opportunistic diseases now have access to attack the infected individual at this stage. Some examples of these opportunistic diseases are tuberculosis, pneumonia, toxoplasmosis and many others.

HIV infection within the first 2 to 6 weeks is at a stage that needs quick restorative medications and lots attentions. But the bad news is, these are the time most people assume that they cannot be infected and treat the symptoms for what they appear to be rather than take HIV test and get Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) when they test positive.

To be on the safest sides, it is wise to take HIV Home test using the home testing kits, Just to know your status and be safe. There are reports of persons who took early HIV test and tested positive that were subjected to early therapy that later tested negative over time.

When you take early test and test negative you lose nothing but when you do not take early test and in reality may have been infected by HIV retrovirus, you stand a chance of losing everything about your health.

Men who take early HIV test do themselves a favor either ways the test results turn out. Taking really does not change or affect your HIV status but only helps you know your true state.

Is it Safe to Live with Someone with HIV?

There is a common misconception about the way HIV is spread. People who don’t know the facts tend to become paranoid and create certain myths surrounding the illness. Although it’s normal to be fearful of a deadly disease, overreacting can get out of control and lead to unnecessary discrimination.

The most common myth about the spread of HIV is saliva. The simple truth is no. Yes HIV is in saliva, but in order to become infected you would need a great amount of saliva in one setting which is impossible.
You cannot contract AIDS or HIV by using the same bath, toilet, toothbrush, cutlery, or any other utensil you can think of. HIV cannot sustain itself outside the body, which disproves that any means of spitting, sneezing or coughing can be infective.

If you have an intimate relationship with a HIV infected person, then more precaution should obviously be taken. Semen, vaginal fluid and infected blood are substances that can spread HIV. There are many relationships where one partner is infected, but it does set limits on how sexual intimacy will be achieved. The fear of a condom breaking can damper the whole situation severely.

Another myth is that simple touching or sweat can spread the illness. This also has no truth whatsoever. The only other proven way of spreading HIV apart from those mentioned above is mother’s milk. Taking all the facts into consideration it comes down to the relationship you have with the person infected. Some safety measures have to come from both sides.

From the infected individual’s point of view, stay away from sick people. Its general knowledge that HIV breaks down the immune system and the slightest bacteria can cause a lot of damage. Even though antiretroviral drugs make a big difference, be careful around people who have colds and especially chickenpox. The latter can be deadly.

As for the non-infected individual, cover all sores. The smallest scratch or opening on your skin can be a gateway for the virus. If you are the care-taker of the infected; use gloves when treatment is given. In case of being a lover, practice safe sex at all times. Family-members needn’t worry too much, just keep away when sick and tend to open wounds.

Is it safe to live with someone with HIV? The answer unfortunately is neither black nor white. Many factors come into play and it’s up to the individuals to decide for themselves whether they can accept the risks that are involved. As far as the facts show there is no immediate danger in this situation.Relationships on the other hand are much more complicated than facts and might lead to dangers unforeseen.

The best would be to research as much as possible about the disease and how it spreads. Do not give any attention to myths that were created because of overreaction. Making an educated decision is vital in cases like these and should not be taken lightly. In the end it comes down to what people think are best for them and their next of kin.