Research Collaborative

Why cure HIV?

As an individual living with HIV who takes two pills daily and is seeing a specialist every six months, I find it strange to be having to fight so hard to explain why HIV should be cured. It seems like a no brainer, however, who am I to judge? Three years ago I would have never imagined myself living with HIV, I was not connected to this community, to the exciting science that is currently being tested in labs across the world. I have grown to see my status as a badge of honor, one that I did not pick because I wanted it, but because of the choices I made. I’ve accepted the hand I was dealt. All of this will be made worth it if we can cure HIV. If AC/RC can create enough attention, tell enough stories, empower enough people, change enough hearts, fund enough science, then this has not all been in vain.

So why cure HIV?
1. HIV medications DO work. Most often we see it reduce viral loads to undetectable levels in individuals. It is the side effects that are of concern, some can be life threatening. 
2. Longterm living with HIV, even with an undetectable viral load, is an extreme drain on the body. This ultimately speeds up the aging process of many organs and the body.
3. The methods we find in curing HIV could be adapted to a whole list of other ailments. For example, ATP (Which AC/RC is currently focusing on) could be used to treat Cancer, tuberculosis, as well as a slew of other diseases 
4. Curing HIV now could save the risk for future generations. Your son or daughter could very well never have to worry about the effects of HIV. Pretty amazing right? 

The very core of the conversation has to change when it comes to curing HIV. Understandably so, HIV has taken a bit of a back seat since the 80’s because it is no longer the daily killer it use to be. To cure HIV we have to overcome two types of apathy. The first is we have to reengage and convince the older generation who lived through the AIDS epidemic that HIV is a curable disease. The second step is removing the stigma that comes with discussing HIV/AIDS. HIV is not a gay disease, it is a human disease. HIV doesn’t only target Gay males, it targets the human body. 

We have come too far, the science has become too valuable, to give up now. To say that we can never cure HIV when we are so close is negligent. We have made huge strides in understanding how this virus works and where it hides. Bringing a cure to reality in the next five to ten years requires the proper funding and the engaging conversation that we lack. This is why the AIDS Cure Research Collaborative exists. To grab the attention of the world and say the time has come. HIV’s reign will be no longer. Science will always find the answer.
Head of Social Media Direction
Zachary B. Rohrer