In the 90s, we heard about the AIDS epidemic on every local newscast. We were irrationally afraid of toilet seats, pay phones, even kissing people; sex became scary. And while we don't see those Public Service Announcements anymore... AIDS hasn't gone away. It's still a global epidemic. To date, over 39 Million people have died of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome commonly known as AIDS. Current drug therapies mean it's now possible to live a normal life span with HIV, but that's expensive and not a long term solution. What we really need is an HIV vaccine and a cure. So, how close are we?
Only one person has ever been cured of HIV56 - Timothy Ray Brown. In 2007, he was undergoing cancer treatment and was accidentally cured of the HIV virus. Researchers still don't understand exactly why or how.
After fighting this virus for nearly 40 years, with only one person cured, (which was a fluke we don't completely understand, and can't replicate, in which it will probably kill you) we've still learned a lot. Once scientists figured out how the virus worked, they needed to figure out how then, to eradicate it. . But that was easier said than done. You see, the virus's RNA invades your cells and changes your DNA. So the challenge was finding a drug that could kill HIV, but not your own cells.
By 1996, they were able to make advances in antiretroviral combination therapy meaning that HIV was no longer a death sentence. Like a gang of defensemen dragging down a football player, the drugs work together to stop HIV in it's tracks. After killing millions of men and women, this cocktail let people live relatively normal lives. Doctors could then take the time to look for a cure.