A promising vaccine candidate for HIV is set to start human trials in 2019. The vaccine shows promise because it has neutralized a wide range of HIV strains and produced antibodies in mice, guinea pigs and monkeys.
HIV Plus reports: “The findings were published on June 4th in the journal Nature Medicine, and it was led by investigators from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which falls under the National Institutes of Health. Chief of the Structural Biology Section at the NIAID Vaccine Research Center Peter D. Kwong, Ph.D and John R. Mascola, M.D., center director, spearheaded the study. The study has been called ‘elegant’ by research leaders.”
NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. spoke highly of the study: “NIH scientists have used their detailed knowledge of the structure of HIV to find an unusual site of vulnerability on the virus and design a novel and potentially powerful vaccine. This elegant study is a potentially important step forward in the ongoing quest to develop a safe and effective HIV vaccine.”
HIV Plus adds: “The vaccine is epitope-based. An epitope is the specific site of an antigen to which an antibody binds. This vaccine is based on the site of a broad number of HIV strains that antibodies can bind to. This epitope was identified only two years ago. First, scientists have to identify powerful antibodies that might have a chance at neutralizing HIV, then, they try to elicit those antibodies with a vaccine. The other approach is to conduct human trials in order to gather solid empirical data. A preliminary human trial of the team’s new vaccine regimen is anticipated to begin in the second half of 2019.”
But the vaccine is not ready yet. And until it is, it’s very important for you to know your status not only so you can receive proper treatment as soon as possible and live a long and healthy life, but so that you can keep your sexual partners healthy.
Today is National HIV Testing Day and a good reminder that everyone should know their status.
Do you know what your HIV status is? If not, why not? What’s your excuse?
1 of 7 people (of the 1.1 million living with HIV in the U.S. today) don’t know they are infected with HIV.
Gay and bisexual men, particularly those in the African-American community, are still at the greatest risk for contracting HIV (see the informative Guardian video up top).
Writes HIV.gov of the most recent official numbers on HIV infection: “Gay and bisexual men were the only group that did not experience an overall decline in annual HIV infections from 2008 to 2014. This is because reduced infections among whites (18%) and the youngest gay and bisexual men (18%) were offset by increases in other groups. Annual infections remained stable at about 26,000 per year among gay and bisexual men overall and about 10,000 infections per year among black gay and bisexual men — a hopeful sign after more than a decade of increases in these populations. However, concerning trends emerged among gay and bisexual males of certain ages and ethnicities, with annual infections increasing: 35% among 25- to 34-year-old gay and bisexual males (from 7,200 to 9,700) and 20% among Latino gay and bisexual males (from 6,100 to 7,300).”
Locate a place to get tested near you using this tool. Hit return or click the magnifying glass to go to the locator after entering your zip:
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For more information on this widget, please visit HIV.gov.
Body Conscious: Gay Men’s Health, Sex, and Self is a new regular twice-monthly feature from Towleroad covering the unique issues gay men face with regard to physical and mental fitness.
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