Ahead of the International AIDS Conference - AIDS 2016 in Durban, the IAS Global Scientific Strategy: Towards an HIV Cure 2016 has been published online in Nature Medicine.
The strategy was developed over two years by a 59-member IAS International Scientific Working Group and reviewed through an extensive global peer consultation process. It analyses recent research achievements in HIV cure research, obstacles to a cure and the strategies and priorities to advance the field.
Advances in HIV cure or remission research will be a major focus of AIDS 2016, which begins with the Towards an HIV Cure Symposium on 16 July.
Burnet Institute researchers and harm reduction specialists Associate Professor David Anderson, Professor Suzanne Crowe AM, Professor Margaret Hellard, Associate Professor Stanley Luchters, Dr Frances Ampt, Mr Chad Hughes, Ms Hui Ling Yeoh, Ms Anna Bowring and Ms Vanessa Veronese will be attending.
Professor Hellard has also been invited to speak to an International AIDS Society (IAS) pre-conference symposium on HIV/HCV.
Nobel Laureate Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Co-Chair of the IAS Towards an HIV Cure Initiative said until recently, few considered the possibility that a cure for HIV infection could some day be possible.
“Today, thanks in part to advances such as the cure of an HIV-infected individual through a stem cell transplant, the identification of a small cohort of individuals who are able to control infection following treatment, and some noteworthy advances in cell, gene and immune therapy, the search for a cure has become a top priority in HIV research,“ she said.
“In 2016, that search is marked by growing scientific interest, an increasing number of novel research strategies in development, and a new optimism that a cure or sustainable remission for HIV is feasible.”
While the development of ART regimens that can control HIV have led to dramatic improvements in the health and life expectancy of those with access to the drugs, researchers and policy makers preparing for AIDS 2016 note that treatment is not a cure.
Current treatment strategies present serious limitations, including the immense economic, operational and logistical challenges associated with delivering life-long care to the nearly 37 million people now living with HIV. Individuals living with HIV must also manage adherence, drug toxicities, and the persistent immune dysfunction, inflammation and risk of co-morbidities associated with HIV infection.
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