Researchers have yet to come up with a cure for the HIV, but it appears that they're getting closer to creating a resistance to the disease within the body. Experts at the Stanford University School of Medicine recently announced that they have created a way to engineer cells in the immune system to resist HIV, which may help prevent the progression of the disease in patients. Over time, HIV develops into AIDS, which can eventually be fatal.
"We inactivated one of the receptors that HIV uses to gain entry and added new genes to protect against HIV, so we have multiple layers of protection - what we call stacking," said Matthew Porteus, the study's primary author. "We can use this strategy to make cells that are resistant to both major types of HIV."
The authors of the study note that this engineering may eventually reduce the need for drugs in the treatment of the condition.
AIDS, HIV and their prominence
In the U.S., more than 1.1 million Americans aged 13 and older were living with an HIV infection in 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This disease can wear down the immune system and make individuals susceptible to infections, which some cannot overcome.
Testing can verify the presence of HIV within your body. Some signs that you may be infected include headache, fatigue and other flu-like symptoms, according to Health magazine. These sensations may not appear for years after you've been infected, meaning it's crucial to get tested regularly if you have multiple sexual partners.
To ensure you're protected from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in general, it's in your best interest to use condoms while engaging in intercourse. Maintaining a monogamous relationship can also reduce your risk of contracting an STD.