Genetic Manipulation: New Directions for HIV/AIDS Research

Emerging research has made an exciting step toward the prevention and cure of HIV/AIDS. At least 36 million people have died from HIV/AIDS since its first report in 1981. One in six HIV-positive individuals is unaware of his or her status. The virus infects and disables immune cells — the T helper cells which orchestrate immune responses — and makes the individual highly susceptible to a range of other infections. A regimen of antiretroviral drugs is used to fight the infection, but this therapy is extremely expensive, sometimes ineffective, and can cause severe side effects.