Scientists Face ‘Stalemate’ in Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Co-Discoverer of HIV Says
Scientists are facing a "stalemate" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and the "long-term battle" against the disease "won't end soon," Dr. Robert Gallo, a co-discoverer of HIV and head of the University of Maryland's Institute of Human Virology, said on Thursday, the Miami Herald reports. Speaking at the 31st annual Eastern Atlantic Student Research Forum in Miami, Gallo said that HIV/AIDS "remains relatively stable but still unpredictable" in developed countries and is "devastating" much of Africa and "is rising" in Asia, Russia and other Eastern European countries. Gallo said that HIV/AIDS "will be a problem for our children and our children's children unless we can solve it through potent education and getting the drugs out there." Gallo said antiretroviral drugs have been a "godsend" for HIV-positive people who have access to them but added that the treatments have "led to overconfidence and cavalier behavior" that could increase the spread of HIV or lead to drug resistance, according to the Herald. However, Gallo criticized public health officials for what he called "overreaction" to the detection earlier this month of a drug-resistant HIV strain in a New York City man. "It's only in one individual, and it's known to be poorly transmissible," he said, adding, "There's no evidence he has infected anybody." Gallo said that HIV/AIDS probably will not be "stopped" until an effective preventive vaccine is developed, which he estimated would be developed in the next three to five years, according to the Herald (Tasker, Miami Herald, 2/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.