Ever since the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, researchers have been desperately seeking a cure. Today, that may seem much closer but there is no promise at all, at least at this point. HIV is a deadly virus and viruses have the ability to mutate so quickly that it is very difficult to create a vaccine or a cure. Instead, the focus for wiping out the epidemic is preventing the infection.
The AIDS epidemic is not as scary as it was in the beginning because new and mostly effective treatments have been developed. The moment someone is found to be HIV positive, they will need to go under the care of a physician to prevent AIDS. There really is no compromise on that point.
The good news is that many cases of the infection can be stopped from developing into AIDS with the use of various medications. It may take a multidisciplinary approach to do this, but it is available to those who need it.
Treatments for Prevention
The very best prevention of all is abstinence from sex. Either that or one must have a strictly monogamous relationship with someone who is HIV negative. However, situations are not always so simple and the use of a condom is considered to be the best prevention aside from abstinence.
The drugs that are used to treat HIV infection have been considered as potential preventatives and, since 2012, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP has become available as medication. AIDS treatment drugs like Truvada are now used to prevent infection. In fact, these drugs have been shown to be up to 90% effective.
For Those with Infected Partners
This type of prevention is intended for those who are not infected but have infected partners. It is also meant for others who are at high risk for infection. This is important because relationships do go on despite circumstances and, the risk of co-exposure is so great that nobody wants to risk it.
The medication is taken daily and it works by concentrating in the vagina and the rectum, which are the primary areas of exposure. This approach will also be used by those who are at risk for involuntary exposure, which is a tough reality to face.
The use of preventative medication should not really be taken lightly. It is not a replacement for condoms, which are very close to 100% effective. Maintaining prevention means maintaining healthy sexual relations. One night stands still need to be considered dangerous.
There is this idea among many that the AIDS epidemic is no longer a problem. We have only to look to third world countries and it soon becomes clear that it is very much an issue. As long as the epidemic is still in the world and, as long as HIV infection still occurs, prevention will be the only way to stomp out the problem.
Continue to practice safe sex and do not count on the advancement of medicine as a promise.