Jmenzago Week 4

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The purpose of this assignment is to gain some clarity for some myths about HIV, AIDS, and treatment for the virus to better approach the literature in future research about HIV and AIDS.

Myth 5

  • Myth: It is impractical to provide AIDS treatment to the poor because ARVs are expensive, proper delivery requires well maintained medical facilities and infrastructure, and could lead to selection in favor of drug-resistant strains of the virus.
  • ARV prices are declining due to the introduction of generic versions of the drug into the market.
  • Incorporating ARVs in AIDS treatment in poor countries will lower costs for health systems because of the reduced need for other forms of medical intervention.
  • Although health infrastructure may not be as well developed in poorer countries, healthcare statistics in sub-Saharan countries show that a large portion of the population are getting basic care, like vaccinations. Even if the public sector falls short, NGOs and mission hospitals are filling in the gaps to build a decent system at the least.
  • Pilot ARV treatment programs in poorer countries have shown to help streamline ARV delivery and swiftly improve the quality of healthcare.
  • Programs like UNGASS help poorer countries partner with healthcare programs and institutions from richer countries, which help improve infrastructure and technology, and train personnel.
  • The social resources of a country can help improve healthcare delivery, as seen with Clinique Bon Sauveur in Haiti and their community-based prevention programs.
  • Drug resistance can be best prevented with triple drug regimens delivered with the proper protocol, as seen with treatment in richer countries.
  • Drug resistance can be combated patient adherence to treatment, which has been shown to effectively suppress the virus.
  • Drug resistance can be prevented if HIV treatment is intertwined with TB treatment in poorer countries, which generally have well developed infrastructure to combat TB, to prevent interruptions in ARV supply.

Myth 6

  • Myth: All that is needed to stop the AIDS crisis is a successful HIV vaccine, some of which are undergoing human trials.
  • Governments and companies around the world have started to give more attention to developing an AIDS vaccine, and some have already seen promising results of disease inhibition in monkeys.
  • Even though research efforts have increased, the "correlates of immunity" for HIV are unknown, meaning a vaccine is still a distant reality.
  • It is difficult to develop a vaccine for HIV because of its diversity and rapid mutation rate.
  • 40 different vaccines have begun clinical trials, and the rate of entries is increasing, but so far only one has made it to Phase III.
  • Some say the lack of cooperation and saturation in the field are hindering progress towards the development of a vaccine and making things more confusing.
  • Some animal studies have shown promising results of vaccines that, although they don't cure hosts, prime the immune system and help reduce the viral load and prevent the spread of the virus.
  • With the current outlook of vaccine development, efforts to raise awareness for HIV protection and prevention should increase.
  • Even after a successful vaccine is developed, it would take years for it to be available on a large scale, which is considerable due to the high death and infection rates of the virus.
  • While a vaccine could lead to the end of the epidemic, it would not mean much unless more attention is given to the parts of the world with poor healthcare infrastructure that would make it difficult to administer treatment.

Refined Question from Week 3

  • Are there other organisms that can effectively fight off viruses with similar dS/dN values so that we can model treatment after their natural immune response?


The purpose of this assignment was to be more informed about some myths regarding HIV, AIDS, and their treatment. There is a misconception that it will be difficult to properly administer treatment to poorer countries, however ARV prices are declining and programs within poorer countries are working towards overcoming and improving the current conditions of their infrastructure. It is also a misconception that all that is needed to end the crisis is a vaccine, but the reality is that a high efficacy vaccine is still likely years away and more focus should be placed on preventative education.


  • My homework partner for the week was Drew Cartmel
    • We communicated over text and in person multiple times to craft our new research question based on our discussion during Week 3
    • I asked him about how the question should be presented on this wiki page
  • I followed the protocol found on BIOL368/S20:Week 4 to complete this assignment
  • I used the citation for Irwin et al. from Mpaniag1 Week 4
  • Except for what is noted above, this individual journal entry was completed by me and not copied from another source.

Jmenzago (talk) 22:50, 12 February 2020 (PST)


  • Irwin, A., Millen, J., & Fallows, D. (2003). Global Aids: Myths and Facts: Tools for Fighting the AIDS Pandemic. Cambridge (Mass.): South End Press.
  • OpenWetWare. (2020). BIOL368/S20:Week 4. Retrieved Feburary 7, 2020, from


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