NY AIDS Walk 2013: Cure for HIV Isn't Within Reach

Amid recent claims that a cure for HIV/AIDS has been discovered, the 28th New York AIDS Walk will take place tomorrow, May 19, 2013. While thousands of walkers, supporters, and friends gather in Central Park with high spirits and strong purpose, the quest to cure HIV/AIDS continues.

Although much progress has been made since the discovery of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)/AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) in the early 1980s, a cure is still a long way off. Discovering a method to fully treat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has been an international commitment for decades. Recent months have witnessed advancement in the search to discover a cure, with several breakthrough studies and cases. Let's take a look at some of these new reports: 

A recent French study highlights success stories of 14 patients who began taking antiretroviral drugs within ten weeks of their infection with HIV. Once the patients stopped taking the drugs, the virus was kept at bay, although signs of HIV are still present in their bodies.

Additionally, a baby girl from Mississippi made headlines in March with a similar case. After being born with HIV, the baby was given antiretroviral drugs about 30 hours after birth. Within one month, her viral loads dropped to the point of being undetectable and remained undetectable after stopping treatment.

A current study by Danish scientists and researchers focuses on extracting the HIV virus from the reservoirs in cells. Once the virus is pulled from the cells, studies to target and eradicate the virus can develop. This study, still in its initial phases, concentrates on a long-term goal to move beyond a functional cure.

Surely, the success of these cases will pave the way for additional clinical trials and provide more proof that an HIV/AIDS cure is possible. However, while these cases move toward a cure, they don't add up to one.

Over thirty-four million people worldwide are infected with HIV/AIDS. The NY AIDS Walk successfully organizes funds to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS, to provide treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS, to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, and to celebrate the millions of lives, friendships, and stories of people worldwide who continue to survive HIV/AIDS.  Show your support and walk tomorrow! Although a cure hasn't been found yet, your participation lends encouragement, bolsters funds, and demonstrates a commitment to continue research and ensure that future generations witness the end of HIV/AIDS. 

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Gina Barbone

Gina recently completed a M.A. in International Relations at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Academically, she focused on Middle Eastern studies, conflict resolution, and security studies. She hopes to pursue an international career and is interested in journalism, human rights issues, and global development. Gina absolutely loves traveling and has spent time living abroad in Beirut and Rome. She is a huge Harry Potter fan and can't believe the series has ended!

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