News in brief

5 things physicians should know about AIDS and HIV on World AIDS Day

Though an estimated 36 million people around the world are living with HIV, myths persist. These resources can help.


Communities around the world are marking World AIDS Day today with vigils, reminders to get tested for HIV and calls to end the stigma surrounding the disease. For clinicians, here are five things to know:

1. In South Africa, where the government estimates more than 3 million people take antiretrovirals, researchers are recruiting 5,400 HIV-negative volunteers to take part in a trial for an HIV vaccine, HVTN 702, CNN reports. The phase III trial follows a 2009 trial in Thailand, where the vaccine was found to offer 31% protection against HIV.

2. Worldwide, AIDS is the No. 1 killer of women of reproductive age, causing more deaths than cancer, childbirth, violence and other infectious diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Approximately 36 million people worldwide were living with HIV last year, according to UNAIDS.

3. Consistently taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been shown to reduce HIV infection risk by up to 92% among patients who don’t have HIV but are at high risk, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Patients must take the pill, Truvada, every day and check in with their physician every three months.

4. An osteopathic physician was among the first to identify the AIDS epidemic. After treating several gay men with similar symptoms, Joel Weisman, DO, who practiced in Sherman Oaks, California, co-authored a groundbreaking article that ran in a 1981 edition of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, according to the Los Angeles Times. Dr. Weisman, who went on to become a prominent advocate for AIDS treatment and research, passed away in 2009.

5. There’s a multitude of HIV/AIDS resources for physicians and patients from sources including the CDC, National Institutes of Health and, which has an easy-to-use map showing nearby HIV testing centers.

World AIDS Day is also prompting reflection on social media:

Leave a comment Please see our comment policy