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The Weakening of HIV

Could HIV's final victim be itself?

Courtney Miller

Fall 2005

hiv aids hiv-1 virus    HIV/AIDS is one of the largest and most catastrophic pandemics of the past century, claiming the lives of over 20 million people worldwide in just two decades. However, after millions of dollars and decades of searching for a cure, some scientists now claim that in as little as 50 years, the HIV/AIDS virus will be a disease of the past.

    A recent study published in the Journal of International AIDS Society confirms this fact. Researchers compared 24 strains of the untreated HIV-1 virus from 1986-1989 and 2002-2003, looking closely at chemical composition and apparent harm to the body. They found that an overwhelming 75 percent of the strains had decreased significantly in both strength and aggressiveness over the past twenty years.

    These findings have profound effects for the future of the HIV virus. Researchers estimate that within the next 50-100 years the virus could grow so weak that it would be completely ineffective within the human body. A person could host HIV-1 without even feeling side effects as their body naturally killed off the remainder of the virus.

    Although promising, this theory is by no means conclusive. While these findings do not offer much hope for a cure to patients today, the news could not come soon enough for areas such as Africa and parts of East Asia, which have been hit especially hard by this disease.

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