Researchers at Duke University believe they have the answer to developing an AIDS vaccine that generates powerful antibodies, which can fight the HIV virus. The new study could help scientists determine which proteins to use in vaccines to induce antibodies that prevent the spread of HIV infection.
“The hope is that by mapping individual pathways to generating broadly neutralizing antibodies, we can find some commonalities among people even though everyone is different, and that gives us hope for using these pathways in a vaccine,” said the director of the Duke University Human Vaccine Institute, Barton Haynes, to Time. “It’s a huge effort but it looks like it’s going to pay off.”
As recent studies have proven, Latinas are disproportionately affected by the infection, which causes AIDS. Statistics published by the CDC confirms that the HIV rate among Latinas is four times higher than white-non-Hispanic women. One reason for the high rates is that some Latinas have limited access to sex education and preventive services. Immigration status, lack of health insurance, and income are additional factors.
The executive director for The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), Jessica González-Rojas, strongly advocates for our communities to get tested early and raise awareness about the disease. She explained in a statement, “Because the majority of Latinas contract HIV from having unprotected sex with a man, improved access to protection and to sexual education are both critical to reducing rates of Latina HIV infection.”
Visit latinoaids.org to get informed and find a test center near you.