HIV

After decades of intense effort, an effective vaccine against HIV is not on the horizon — and, some say, may never be possible. So some AIDS researchers are going passive.

As in passive immunization.

Active immunization is what an effective vaccine does. It stimulates the recipient to make antibodies that protect against a disease. Passive immunization involves the direct injection of antibodies extracted from survivors of a particular infection.

A big part of Washington D.C.'s plan to get its HIV rate down is to get more uninfected people on PrEP, a two-medicine combination pill that's also sold under the brand name Truvada.

Louis Arevalo holds his Truvada pills at his home in Los Angeles, California on July 17, 2015. The drug Truvada, used to halt HIV infection, has been shown to be over 90 percent effective when used correctly.
Heidi de Marco / Kaiser Health News

An analysis released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides further links between syringe services programs and preventing HIV. 


Epidemiologists traditionally have depended on what people say to discover how disease spreads. But in investigating Indiana's recent HIV outbreak, the CDC tracked what the virus says — by looking at its DNA.


Seth Herald / for Side Effects Public Media

On a recent morning in downtown Tippecanoe County Indiana, a standing-room-only crowd showed up for a county commissioners meeting. The issue at hand? Renewing the county’s syringe exchange program.


AJ Mast for Side Effects Public Media

When Ronson Rowley was a teen, he said he used to sneak into a nightclub called the Ten Bar. “It was the only black gay club here in Indianapolis,” he recalled. One night he ran into his uncle.

“He looked me dead in the face,” he recalled. “And [he] said what are you doing here? I said, the same thing you’re doing here.”


Indianapolis, Indiana.
Evan Walsh

On a rainy day in Austin, Indiana, Brittany Combs, the public health nurse for Scott County, drives around in a white SUV. Medical supplies are piled high in the back of the vehicle: syringes and condoms, containers for used needles, over-the-counter medications.


Jake Harper / Side Effects

Indiana’s top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Curtis Hill, has accused the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of manipulating facts in order to push a “pro-needle-exchange agenda.” He made the accusation in a statement released Tuesday.

The crowd at a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub Sunday morning  in Orlando, on the steps of City Hall.
Eric Garcetti via Flickr

A hidebound stigma? A "double tragedy?" US blood donation rules are coming under scrutiny after Sunday's mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.


Seth Herald/Side Effects

Four days a week, public health nurse Brittany Combs drives her SUV around the small town of Austin, Indiana, handing out clean needles to injection drug users and talking to people about going to rehab.

It’s a task that can be rewarding—when one of her customers finally wants help to get off drugs—and a bit agonizing, because there’s often not a rehab bed ready for them.


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