“The scientific breakthrough which has helped in the reduction of HIV/AIDS infections and deaths related to the disease means that the global community will soon find a vaccine to deal with the disease”, – Prof. Portiano Kaleebu, a panelist at 17th ICASA has indicated.
The researcher from the Uganda Research Unit on AIDS, speaking at a side event during Africa’s biggest AIDS gathering in Cape Town – South Africa said that initiatives or breakthroughs like Prevention of Mother to Child Transmissions (PMTCT), Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARV) and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PreP) as well as other prevent measures have led to 30 percent reduction in HIV infections globally within the last eight years was phenomenon and clearly indicate that the world was inching closer to a vaccine for the disease in the near future.
The session was themed, “The role of new prevention technologies in getting to zero new infections”.
Proff. Portiano noted that from these new vaccines and therapies unborn babies are been saved through the PMTCT, people who tested positive to HIV are were having their lives prolonged from taking ARV drugs while the PreP vaccines when applied after sex also help in preventing new infections.
“Notwithstanding these interventions there is not a drug yet for HIV/AIDS hence people should be more responsible with their sex lives and the point should be made clear that when adherence to preventive measures is high, HIV protection is also consistent and high”, he indicated.
He said that the application of science was doing a great service in finding a drug for the disease and as such more investment should be geared towards research globally.
“Education on the disease should not be stopped but prevent methods work on all persons in communities hence the onus lie on us to use science to find a drug although it won’t be easy”, he admitted.
“Where we are now, trials conducted have brought about safety measures which results in low infections and as such we are moving closer. I can’t put a time frame on when a vaccine will be found for HIV/AIDS but I am certain that we are closer to the subject”.
On her part Dr. Nelly Mugo from the Kenya Medical Research Institute, noted that feasibilities conducted by WHO show that communities were willing to use these prevent measures hence formulation of policies should also be geared this direction.
“For instance the use of PreP measures like Tenofovir after sex and others achieved 62 percent reduction in new infection transmission in some communities during trials and as research methods and modalities need to intensified for us to find a vaccine soon”, she noted.
She indicated that while the work towards finding a lasting solution was on going, it was important to educate and encourage people to adopt prevent measures on a daily bases so as to sustain the gains made.