By Robert Edwomu
Despite the tremendous efforts to combat the deadly HIV/AIDS Epidemic, Health experts have revealed why getting HIV/AIDS vaccine is harder compared to other viruses.
The virus that has existed for over three decades has claimed over 33 million lives and infects over 1.7 million people annually.
“In Uganda it’s estimated that every two minutes, an estimate of 10 people get infected with the virus,” the Coordinator Public Sector Uganda Aids Commission Tom Etii says.
In 2020 Uganda registered 38,000 new infections, a slight decrease from the 53,000 new infections registered in 2018 and 2019 respectively according to the Uganda Aids Commission records.
Dr. Lisa Nelson the Uganda Country Director Center for Disease Control (CDC) in an interview with this reporter in Kampala says unlike other viruses experts have found it hard to deal with HIV because of its behavioral character in nature.
She says the virus is very clever and it mutates rapidly once it gets into one’s immune system.
The virus also hides in the body making it hard to develop antibodies that completely eradicate the virus in the body.
In 2003, Researchers working at the Uganda Virus Research Institute began a trial of an AIDS vaccine with the aim of vaccinating 50 volunteers not infected with HIV.
Dr. Lisa reveals that currently no vaccine has been developed and such intelligent character by virus makes it hard for experts to come up with a vaccine as people expect.
Dr. Lisa also revealed that the United States of America with 1.2 million people living with HIV has maintained the prevalence rate low through different interventions.
She notes that the outstanding key interventions in the US are the 90-90-90 strategy, Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PreP) among others which are highly embraced by the citizens.
The 90-90-90 strategy is where 90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy have viral suppression.
Uganda is currently using a number of interventions to prevent HIV which include Condoms, ARVs, Safe Male circumcision, Prep, Pep, Testing among others