Note: this site last updated in 2006
Ways to stop it
An article from "The Molecules of HIV" (c) Dan Stowell
How can we stop AIDS? This is such an important question, and there are so many possible answers.
Perhaps one of the best things to do would be to prevent HIV passing from one person to another?
Or, since we know know quite a lot about the life cycle of HIV, surely we can throw a spanner into the works? The HIV life cycle is a complex ballet of dozens of different types of molecules, so if we can trip up one single part of the dance, perhaps it won't be able to go on. This is the approach taken by many lines of research. Unfortunately it's not so simple to trip up HIV replication - mainly because it takes place in the human body, and any chemical which affects HIV replication runs the risk of causing unacceptable dangers and side-effects to the infected individual. Anti-HIV drugs are often developed to retard HIV's life cycle.
Perhaps we can help out our immune system somehow? It's the immune system which is supposed to deal with infections, after all, so perhaps we can beef it up, or train it specifically against HIV?
Or, in a turning of the tables, perhaps we could forget about trying to stop HIV infection, and try some treatment which means we can live with HIV infection without progressing on to AIDS? There are people who can catch HIV without getting AIDS - these are called "long-term nonprogressors" - so finding out how and why they don't get AIDS holds the possibility of our arranging it so everyone becomes a long-term nonprogressor....
Yet another possibility comes from the existence of individuals with the delta32 mutation, who seem to be immune to the most common forms of HIV-1. Could we induce a protective mutation in people's cells?