The surprising results of an animal study are raising hopes for a far simpler treatment regimen for people infected with the AIDS-causing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Currently, HIV-infected individuals can live a near normal life span if, every day, they take a complex combination of drugs called antiretroviral therapy (ART). The bad news is if they stop ART, the small amounts of HIV that still lurk in their bodies can bounce back and infect key immune cells, called CD4 T cells, resulting in life-threatening suppression of their immune systems.
With plans to travel to Swaziland and volunteer with the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) and a desire to address issues related to health disparities in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, I began navigating the unfamiliar terrain of life after college.
This year, an estimated 50,000 Americans will learn they have been newly infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. A new generation of safe, effective, and longer-lasting treatments to keep HIV in check is very much needed.
The NIH is "one of America's great citadels of hope, not only for our people, but also for the world," said President Bill Clinton at the dedication of the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center (VRC) on June 9, 1999.
"The point is this. When we go before the appropriations committees of Congress, we must describe achievements of the previous year. ... But there were many problems, many demands from 1975 to 1985, and the NIAID was stretched very, very thin. ... Too many scientists thought infections were no longer important and that view was translated into a decision in NIAID's budget."
– Excerpt from a 1988 NIH Oral History discussion with Dr. Richard Krause, former NIAID Director, on why getting funding for infectious disease research in the 1970-80s was difficult.