12/02/16

HIV/AIDS vaccine could be available 'in the next 20 years'

December 1 marked World AIDS Day—a special day when the healthcare community emphasizes preventing the spread of the disease.

The first weapon in the battle against HIV and AIDS is a blood test.

"Testing is the first element to success. The only bad HIV test is the one we do not do. We need to improve early detection," said Morene Christman, NP.

Amir Khan, MD, infectious disease specialist, says physicians should offer a HIV test to everyone starting at age 13.

"Many people are HIV positive, don't know it and could be spreading the disease to others," he said.

The biggest risk factors in getting HIV are unprotected sex and sharing drug needles.

Dr. Khan has a message of hope for those with HIV today.

"It is not a death sentence. There is medicine that can suppress the virus. We've made research advances, and there may even be a vaccine or cure in the next 20 years," he said.

"But we can't help people unless they get tested."

People can get a HIV test at their doctor's office or at their local public health department.

Dr. Khan recently spoke to The News-Gazette and appeared on the WILL-AM program The 21st to talk more about HIV prevention and AIDS research. Be sure to read the article and listen to the interview to learn more about the disease.