The scientist who co-discovered that the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, was the responsible infectious agent for AIDS was today’s guest speaker at the Carol Swarts, M.D., Distinguished Lecture series at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
Dr. Robert Gallo says HIV treatment has come a long way since the early 1980’s when he and others discovered the virus.
Dr. Gallo says, “If I had HIV tomorrow and you treated me early enough, I’d expect to live a reasonably normal, complete lifespan. I’d have to take drugs and be followed by the right kind of doctor who has experience and knows what he’s doing — for drug resistance and follows me carefully, I’d expect a reasonably normal lifespan.”
Through his work, Dr. Gallo and his team helped to develop the HIV blood test that allowed health care workers to screen for the AIDS virus. This screening helped protect blood transfusion patients from getting the virus.
Dr. Gallo says there is also great promise in HIV vaccines that are currently in the test stages. He says, ““The epidemic will be gone if it worked. There wouldn’t be any HIV. That would be the Holy Grail as they call it. Then I’d feel like, okay, we’re finished.”