HIV isn’t something that is talked about as often as it used to be. In the 1980s, HIV and AIDS plagued the thoughts of most Americans. Despite the fact that it hasn’t drawn as much attention as it used to, HIV is still a huge problem. Thankfully, scientists are just another step closer to developing a successful HIV vaccine.
How Much Does HIV Treatment Cost
The average treatment for HIV costs between $14,000 and $20,000 per year. That is just to keep the virus from progressing to AIDS and keep the infected person alive. Some treatments can cost as little as $1,000 per month, but those paying that price can consider themselves lucky. All of this can add up to $400,000 or more in lifetime treatment expenses.
Not to mention, many individuals with HIV may also have other incurable diseases, such as Hepatitis. Combining HIV treatment costs with the costs of maintaining another disease can run upwards of $28,900 or more per year.
Many people managing their HIV diagnosis live paycheck to paycheck and struggle financially. Some even try to ration out their medications, which can be dangerous. With around 38 million people infected worldwide and healthcare costs continuing to rise, it has become a priority for officials to develop a vaccine to help prevent HIV.
The Development of an HIV Vaccine
Thankfully, scientists are coming closer to developing an HIV vaccine. Three experimental vaccines are entering their final stages of testing. While any of these three trials may fail, scientists are more hopeful than they’ve ever been in the past. Margaret Heckler, Secretary of Health and Human Services, has predicted there would be a vaccine available for wide-scale testing within the next two years.
This is “perhaps one of the most optimistic moments we have been in,” said director of the Bridge HIV research program at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Dr. Susan Buchbinder. “We have three vaccines currently being tested in efficacy trials, and it takes quite a bit to actually be promising enough in the earlier stages of trials to move you forward into an efficacy study.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who helped draft President Trump’s Ending the HIV Epidemic plan, said that if one of the current three vaccines being developed works, “that would be the endgame.” The HIV Epidemic plan aims to help lower new infections by 75 percent in the next five years and 90 percent in 10 years’ time. That could save countless peoples’ lives, not to mention millions of dollars. However, only time will tell whether scientists will be able to craft a vaccine that really works.