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Advances against AIDS

An experimental HIV vaccine has been well tolerated and elicited immune responses in nearly 400 healthy volunteers from Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, Thailand, and the United States, researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported during a conference in Paris in July. Another test conducted by the NIH found that the use of a monthly vaginal ring or a daily pill containing antiretrovirals are safe and effective methods for preventing transmission of the virus among adolescents. Also in July, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report indicating that the total number of deaths caused by AIDS per year fell from 1.9 million in 2005 to 1 million in 2016, thanks to the fact that more than half of those infected around the world now receive antiretroviral therapy—but the virus transmission rate is still considered high. Last year, 1.8 million people were infected with HIV, the equivalent of one person every 17 seconds. One worrying fact highlighted by the report is that 10% of people currently starting antiretroviral therapy in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are infected with a strain of HIV that is resistant to some of the most commonly used drugs.