With proper medical care, HIV can be both prevented and controlled. People living with HIV who have access to effective treatments often enjoy long, healthy lives, with minimal risks to their sexual partners.
The global HIV/AIDS epidemic has caused immeasurable suffering. It has challenged the biomedical community to create treatments for this devastating disease. A robust response from researchers and pharmaceutical companies led to the development of potent therapies capable of both preventing and controlling HIV.
PrEP, or Pre-exposure Prophylaxis, is a therapy prescribed to prevent an individual from contracting HIV. Antiretroviral therapies, typically a treatment combination of two or more drugs, are designed to slow replication of the HIV virus. Antiretrovirals are proven to extend the life span for infected individuals. In addition, antiretrovirals also provide a safeguard of making HIV non-transmissible and undetectable — meaning the individual can have sexual relations without the fear of their partner contracting the disease.
Despite the remarkable impact on HIV, decades of treatment advances have yet to cure the disease. The HIV infection rebounds quickly when treatment is interrupted or viral drug resistance arises, and no amount of conventional therapy has overcome this problem. Despite improvements in the medications, it is time for new strategies aimed at eliminating the dependence on antiretroviral therapy.