Both an HIV Vaccine and an HIV Cure Are Needed
Every day there is more and more news coming from HIV research. The HIV pandemic is not over, and some may say it is only just beginning. Thirty-three million are currently infected and there are 7,000 new cases daily. The search for antiretroviral therapy is still on, but for many countries, a drug response just is not enough. The creation of an HIV vaccine is crucial to the eradication of the disease. This would be an injection that when taken, could prevent someone from ever catching the disease. Since prevention often costs less than treatment, this is especially important to those less fortunate.
The current antiretroviral treatment that HIV research has made available is too costly for many patients, and there are potentially long-term side effects. Also, daily compliance with the treatment is required. This is extremely hard to monitor in those who cannot afford consistent medical care. This is one reason the HIV pandemic continues to worsen. The discovery of an HIV vaccine could curb this by preventing many from catching the disease altogether. Those most at risk could be vaccinated in mass clinics, much as the flu is done in many countries.
For there to ever be a cure or an HIV vaccine, scientists need political and funding commitment from investors for HIV research. The only way to slow and eventually stop the HIV pandemic is to have both. The research for each must go on simultaneously so that one does not slow down the progress of the other. This requires extra funding and strong commitments. Many investors only want to support one or the other, with the mindset that both are not needed. This is just not the case. Everyone cannot be cured at once, and while they are waiting, the disease is steadily spreading. The only way to stop the cycle is to prevent those who have it from spreading while waiting on the cure.
In short, HIV research costs money. This money comes from investors. Each area of research, both for a cure and for an HIV vaccine needs funding in order to continue their work. The HIV pandemic will continue to spread without both a vaccine and a cure. The current treatments are better than nothing, but they are nowhere near sufficient. Further progress needs to be made so that treatment is not the only answer. This can only be accomplished through continued research, which can only happen with continued funding.