Despite some very impressive advances in the treatment and care for individuals afflicted with HIV, this disease still affects over 33 million people throughout the world. Additionally, more than 7000 new cases of HIV infection are reported every day. Individuals in developing parts of the world find it difficult, if not impossible, to receive and pay for treatment. While there is no doubt that the medications currently available have enabled individuals with HIV to live longer fuller lives, it is financially unsustainable to provide these very expensive medications to every person in the world with HIV/AIDS for the rest of their lives.
Treatment of HIV is incredibly lucrative force pharmaceutical companies. The cost of medications required to manage the disease can reach as much as $25,000 a year. With almost 2/3 of the people who are infected with HIV living in Africa and only a third of them being able to access treatment, it is more important than ever to finally find an HIV cure to end this devastating illness. Pharmaceutical companies may actually be hesitant to pursue the research necessary to find a cure because lifelong treatment for infected individuals is so profitable for them.
It is absolutely vital that new drugs be discovered in order to replace the antiviral drugs that must be taken as long as a person lives. Unfortunately, even some of the world’s top scientists are skeptical that drug companies would be willing to finance the kind of research that is necessary without pressure from the public and government alike. There is no doubt that a one-time cure would be far less profitable than continuing, lifelong therapy. Research to combat and eventually eliminate this disease will not come cheap but the cost for providing treatment to individuals that cannot afford their medication has already begun to put a huge financial strain on the governments of most industrialized countries.
Citizens of the world must take care to ensure that neither they nor their governments take a “good enough” attitude towards the treatment of HIV. It is easy to turn a blind eye to the plight of individuals halfway around the world. Likewise, while the effectiveness of current HIV medications is impressive compared what was available only 2 decades ago, it is by no means adequate. In order to achieve an HIV cure once and for all, new drugs and a renewed commitment are needed. Although the cost may be high, the cost of doing nothing will undoubtedly be much higher.
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