As of 2001, there is no vaccine effective against AIDS. Several vaccines are currently being investigated, however, both to prevent initial HIV infection and as a therapeutic treatment to prevent HIV from progressing to full-blown AIDS.
In the meantime, there are many things that can be done to prevent the spread of AIDS:
- Be monogamous and practice safe sex. Individuals must be instructed in the proper use of condoms and urged to practice safe sex. Besides avoiding the risk of HIV infection, condoms are successful in preventing other sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Before engaging in a sexual relationship with someone, get tested for HIV infection.
- Avoid needle sharing among intravenous drug users.
- Although blood and blood products are carefully monitored, those individuals who are planning to undergo major surgery may wish to donate blood ahead of time to prevent a risk of infection from a blood transfusion.
- Healthcare professionals must taken all necessary precautions by wearing gloves and masks when handling body fluids and preventing needle-stick injuries.
- If you suspect that you may have become infected, get tested for HIV infection. If treated aggressively early on, the development of AIDS may be postponed indefinitely. If HIV infection is confirmed, it is also vital to let your sexual partners know so that they can be tested and, if necessary, receive medical attention.
At the present time, there is no cure for AIDS. Treatment stresses aggressive combination drug therapy for those patients with access to the expensive medications and who tolerate them adequately. The use of these multi-drug therapies has significantly reduced the numbers of deaths, in this country, resulting from AIDS. The data is still inconclusive, but the potential exists to possibly prolong life indefinitely using these and other drug therapies to boost the immune system, keep the virus from replicating, and ward off opportunistic infections and malignancies.
Prognosis after the latency period depends on the patient’s specific symptoms and the organ systems affected by the disease. Patients with AIDS-related lymphomas of the central nervous system die within two to three months of diagnosis; those with systemic lymphomas may survive for eight to ten months.
No Hiv, No Aids on January 26th 2007