The Desire for an HIV Cure Can Inspire Irresponsible Reporting

We all want a cure for HIV and when one is hopefully discovered in the near future that will be cause for much celebration. That said, it seems like quite often the desire for there to be a cure results in the media discussing early study results incorrectly and irresponsibly. This has happened most recently when reports about a study that hopes to cure HIV were misinterpreted and led to numerous headlines declaring, “Possible Cure Found!” and the like.

The most recent incident is how a 44 year-old British Man appears to not have HIV in his system while taking medications as part of a two-stage, “Kick and Kill,” study. The problem is that everyone in this study is taking Antiretrovrial Therapy (ART) in addition to the study medications and those, “In-the-know,” are aware that when someone takes ART as instructed they often will become, “Undetectable,” in regards to their, “Viral load,” meaning that HIV is still in their system, it just is not possible to pick it up with tests.

undetectable.jpg

People taking part in this study (which has clearly inspired a bunch of news articles) are all taking ART and half are also taking special drugs for the study that doctors hope could possibly eliminate HIV from the body if certain theories are correct. Actual study results are not expected until 2018 however–more than a year in the future. Therefore, all these early media reports about how, “HIV can’t be found in this person’s body doing the study!” are irresponsible and generate a false beliefs that can lead to absurd headlines that always seem to pop-up like how, “HIV is cured, no need for condoms!”

The day a cure is found for HIV will be a wonderful one deserving of cheering. That day has not arrived yet however, and we can’t let our hopes lead to irresponsible statements of, “Facts,” that are actually false.

Sources

Article over-stating hopes for a cure: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/british-man-hiv-aids-medical-trial-breakthrough-cured-a7341801.html

Article warning how saying there is a, “Cure,” is premature: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-37545953

Article discusisng what a Viral Load is:http://avi.org/page/viral-load

Example of an irresponsible article claiming condoms aren’t needed thanks to various HIV-cure claims that pop-up: http://tmzworldnews.com/hivaids-cure-finally-found-doctors-confirm-no-more-condoms/

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