There are still research findings into possible treatments and cures for HIV. Scientists and doctors reveal new information every year. With every study, experts are closer to understanding how to treat HIV in the long term, with the hope of eventually finding a cure.

The article looks at the most recent developments in HIV prevention and treatment. Many of these may soon be the standard of care for people living with HIV.

If you’re among the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, it’s important to know about these advancements and discuss them with your doctor.

It may be years before we have a cure for HIV. Immediate impacts on care can be made by some research.

Anal cancer prevention and improvements in care for aging people living with HIV are two examples of this.

Anal cancer prevention

People with HIV are more likely to face secondary infections, such as human papillomaviruses.

The body has abnormal cell growth. It can cause anal and oral cancers.

A June 2022 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that early detection and treatment of precancerous anal lesions can cut a person’s likelihood of developing anal cancer by more than half compared with only practicing surveillance monitoring of the lesions.

Anal cancer is the fourth most common cancer among people with HIV. According to the National Institutes of Health, anal cancer occurs in 89 out of every 100,000 HIV-positive men who have sex with men and between 18.6 and 35.6 HIV-positive women.

The general population has anal cancer incidence of 1.6 in every 100,000 people.

Screening for precancerous anal cell changes should be the standard of care for people with HIV, especially men who have sex with men, according to researchers.

The Pap smear has been shown to prevent cancer by detecting cancer before it starts.

HIV and aging

Nearly half of all people with HIV in the United States are over the age of 50, according to 2018 figures. As these people continue to age and experience new phases of life with an HIV infection, changing healthcare needs will inform research on treatment, intervention, and prevention for older people.

For example, people with HIV are more likely to experience age-related health issues earlier in life. Cardiovascular disease is more common in people with HIV. People with HIV also have an increased risk of developing some cancers, dementia, and osteoporosis.

Some medications for HIV, including antiretroviral therapy (ART), have been linked to osteoporosis. This is why monitoring for the disease is needed during treatment.

Current studies are looking at how to treat and prevent these age related conditions in people with HIV. Funding is being allocated to support comprehensive plans for screening and managing comorbidities.

Advocacy organizations are looking for ways to connect with the community to make resources available to people who are not able to.

HIV news often has headlines about cures and vaccines. There are some cases of people becoming HIV-free after years of being in the same situation. The effectiveness of a vaccine or cure has not yet been supported by research.

There is a chance that a cure may not be too far away. Treatments that can provide people with viral suppression that does not require intensive, daily intervention are being made.

Potential one-time injection treatment

ART often requires daily medication and treatment. ART has made HIV manageable and painless.

ART requires taking a pill or multiple pills every day, and it can be expensive. Researchers wanted to find treatments that would make it easier to follow this treatment.

In June 2022, Tel Aviv University revealed that a one-time injection might be the answer to a permanent cure. This injection uses genetically engineered type B white blood cells. Once inside the body, these blood cells secrete neutralizing antibodies that destroy HIV.

The research was only done in animals. It still needs to be reviewed and studied in humans, but the cutting-edge capability holds great promise.

Experimental vaccines

Medical research is often focused on the development of vaccines for diseases. There is no vaccine for HIV.

For example, in August 2021, the Imbokodo study was canceled. This study involved more than 2,600 women in seven southern African nations. The vaccine did not provide protection against HIV.

“Several vaccine studies have been canceled because they didn’t show effectiveness.”

The data gathered in the Imbokodo study is being reviewed by researchers. They hope to find information that will help them in their quest for an HIV vaccine.

As of March 2022, three new mRNA vaccines are also undergoing phase 1 clinical trials.

Stem cell transplant

Stem cells have been used for the treatment of cancer. Stem cell transplant is being looked at for people living with HIV.

In February 2022, researchers revealed at a medical conference that a third known person had been cured of HIV. This person, a woman from New York, had shown no detectable HIV since stopping ART and receiving a stem cell transplant to treat leukemia.

“A patient with both HIV and leukemia received a stem cell transplant. She received donations from the baby’s cord that made the baby immune to HIV. The woman’s stem cells were given to her by a family member with a better genetic match than the infant.”

The woman had no HIV for 14 months after the transplant. She is one of two people who have been cured of HIV.

Stem cell transplants can be difficult to endure. It is difficult to find a rare genetic abnormality that is needed for a transplant.

This is not a long-term solution for treating or curing HIV, but it does give some insight into other treatments that may be beneficial.

Kick and kill strategy

If you find and kill cells that are carrying a virus, it will be eliminated. HIV is not known to be stealthy. It can be difficult to hide and evade the immune system.

In what’s called the kick and kill strategy, researchers have created a two-pronged treatment for HIV. The first portion is a latency-reversing agent. It “kicks” the memory cells where HIV hides and wakes them up so the immune system can more easily find them.

A broadly neutralizing antibody is given in the second part. The immune system of the body is stimulated to kill the cells that are not awake.

Antibody injections

Researchers at Rockefeller University shared in April 2022 that antibody treatments used with ART were able to achieve viral suppression that allowed people to stop taking ART. Some study participants achieved viral suppression for a year.

The group of cells that are HIV-positive might be reduced by treatment with the antibodies. Reducing the number of cells that are infectious may help people suppress the viral load.

Some research shows that combination antibody injections may also be more effective than single antibody treatment.

Some HIV medications have side effects. The side effects are mild.

  • There is a lot of diarrhea.
  • fatigue
  • vomiting
  • The toxicity of the liver.

Every year, researchers find new and exciting discoveries in HIV research. Progress moves understanding forward even though some of the findings can come with setbacks.

Researchers are looking for new ways to study. Success stories about cures and preventive vaccines may be included in the news about HIV prevention and treatment.