• In March, a clinical trial led to a breakthrough in which a man was 'healed' of HIV.
• Scientists, however, discovered a new strain of HIV in November.
The global society on Sunday marked World Aids Day. Themed ‘Ending the HIV/Aids Epidemic: Community by Community’, the day was marked in a year that has seen significant gains in fighting the disease.
But there are also obstacles. In March, a clinical trial with a man whose identity was only revealed as a ‘London Patient’ led to a life-saving breakthrough when he was ‘healed’ of HIV, the virus that causes Aids.
The success came through after years of rigorous medical experiments since the discovery of the virus in 1983. The London Patient’s case was the second, replicating the success of another trial in 2007. The effervescence of these gains in 2019 bring about good tidings of hope to victims but also communities where they live and work.
The year signalled that with continued research, the world can triumph over HIV/Aids which remains a health challenge for at least 35 million people across the world. But in what might complicate the challenges and neutralise gains, scientists discovered a new strain of HIV in November.
The new strain introduces a new dimension to the understanding of HIV beyond the distinct strains that have been known since 1999. This implies the need for deployment of additional resources to further medical research to fully understand the virus, its genesis, metamorphosis and clinically viable ways of containing its virility.
In a report released last week by the National Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infections Control Programme, there remain worrying prevalence rates in Nyanza and Western region; specificallyHoma Bay with 700, Siaya (620), Kisumu (616), Kakamega (437), Migori (432) and Busia (318).