Q and A


Why is there more research on treatment rather than a cure?

Why does there seem to be more focus put onto finding treatments for HIV and not a cure? Is their anywhere where I can read non medical jargon about developments toward a cure?


Thanks, this answer updates a question from 2006, and over the last 12 years there has been a huge increase in research looking for a cure.

Developing either treatments or a vaccine which could prevent/cure HIV are both very difficult. Different researchers and companies generally focus on different approaches.

This link has more information about different approaches,

Although research into both areas has been ongoing for over 30 years, the research into treatment has just been more successful.

There are two main difficulties with vaccine/cure research. Firstly, that HIV continually mutates, making it easy for HIV to evade any single vaccine. Secondly, even after many years effective treatment, HIV is integrated into the DNA of someone’s immune cells, and many of these cells are then ‘sleeping’. Current HIV drugs are not able to work against these resting cells.

Research into a ‘cure’ for HIV-positive people includes looking at how to either wake up or target these resting cells.

If your search the i-Base website for “cure” there are many reports of studies looking for a cure.

Two community-based websites with less technical information about vaccine research are:

  1. AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition
  2. International AIDS Vaccine Initiative

This question from November 2006 was last updated in February 2019.

1 comment

  1. William

    This is a good question but our community’s experiences of HIV/AIDS reminds us that progress is achieved more rapidly when we organise, mobilise, and demand change.

    Too many prominent activists (no names needed, check their social media!) crowd out demands for a cure with a exclusive focus on U=U and stigma. It’s such a waste of energy because it’s perfectly possible to advocate for both but most prominent HIV activists who hold themselves out as representing or at least talking for our community tweet incessantly about U=U and rarely – if ever – mention the word “cure”.

    There will never be a cure if we do not demand it.


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