BALTIMORE (WJZ)— Exciting news in medical research–a possible vaccine to prevent HIV/AIDS.

Pat Warren reports this promising development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine is a ray of hope in many troubled lives.

Francis Scott Key— a name he says he’s proud to carry—is HIV positive.

“It was like death to me. I had a cloud over my head. I didn’t want to hear nothing from nobody, used drugs all the time,” Key said.

Out of the despair of the present comes hope for the future. Researchers at the University of Maryland Institute for Human Virology are making progress on an HIV/AIDS vaccine.

“Today we are on the verge of a major breakthrough in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “A fight that has come with particular ferociousness and speed to this place, the original land of the free and home of the brave in Baltimore, Maryland.”

It’s been a fight for Francis Scott Key.

“I think that being in this situation and wanting to be accepted by other human beings is a hard struggle for me,” he said.

Chase Brexton Health Services in Mt. Vernon provides medical care and treatment for people who have HIV. Medication has been steadily improving.

“Most people don’t have side effects these days and often times they’ll ask me if the medication is working because I don’t have side effects, so they’ve gotten a lot better,” said Naomi Redd.

A preventive vaccine is the next big thing. More than $23 million in grant money has been awarded to the Institute of Human Virology to make that quantum leap.

“In the beginning it was a struggle. Now it’s a way of life,” Key said.

Nearly $17 million of the $23.5 million in grant money comes from the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation. Grant money was also awarded by the U.S. Army Military HIV program and the National Institutes of Health.


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