The only real weapons we have against viruses are natural ones, that is antibodies which can destroy viruses and bacterias. The problem with HIV is that the body cannot produce antibodies against the HIV virus. That is how a HIV test if performed, that is not looking for virus but testing for antibodies. No antibodies have yet been found in a human being that are effective in the long term against HIV. That is why a vaccine will be so difficult to find.
HIV Treatment Drugs
Our only other hope lies in a drug that could destroy viruses in the body. We have none that is effective. We will undoubtedly find such a drug one day but it is a long, long way off. How do you kill something (HIV virus) that does not breathe, does not need food, does not live and never dies? Attempts have even been made to flood the bloodstream with small pieces of cell wall (CD4) so the viruses are unable to touch living CD4 white cells. Another method being tried is to inject antibodies (`neutralising') from HIV-positive people to give extra protection to people with AIDS.
There would be one terrible problem with all such potential drugs. If they can be found, they will have to be taken for life. If some cells in the body are already infected, then a drug preventing entry of new viruses into unaffected cells will need to be taken until every reprogrammed cell and its descendants are dead---which could take fifteen years or longer. If we stopped the drug after ten years and a single reprogrammed white cell were to be activated to make more virus particles, the disease could start progressing all over again. This applies also to drugs preventing reprogramming, virus manufacture, or budding from the cell.
Thankfully, unless you qualify for one of the Obamacare Exemptions, every American citizen is required to have healthcare under the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) legislature. Therefore, should an HIV drug or treatment be approved in the near future, HIV- and AIDS-patients will be have convenient and affordable access to that treatment.
HIV Treatment Vaccines
Drug companies are pouring billions of dollars into research to find better treatments and much less into vaccines. With a lot less work they can rush through testing and licensing and bring a new drug onto the market. Advertising is unnecessary. Media hype does most of it, and pressure becomes irresistible from patients who are desperate for any hope of cure.
Cost of HIV Treatment
HIV drugs are very expensive because of billions of dollars put into the HIV and AIDS research. Doctors and governments are forced into using drugs which are very expensive, possibly $4,000 per patient, but may hardly work at all.
According to a study in 14th International AIDS Conference, average annual cost of treating HIV-positive patients in the United States can vary from about $34,000 to $14,000, depending on the stage of the virus. The yearly expense for treatment averages $34,000 for people in the advanced stage of illness compared with $14,000 for those infected who are keeping the virus at bay with a combination of anti-retroviral medications known as the AIDS drug cocktail, the report found.
The $20,000 differential in care for healthy vs. sick patients covers far more than HIV medications.