On June 14th the FDA held a public meeting on HIV Patient-Focused Drug Development and Cure Research -- the second in a series of 20 meetings on a range of disease states. FDA officials invited HealthHIV's Director of Advocacy and Alliance Development Joseph Jefferson to share his perspectives on the Drug Development panel -- both as a person living with HIV and as an advocate. Addressing more than 100 people, Jefferson helped expand the panel's discussion to include topics of barriers to treatment adherence, and branding HIV as a manageable disease -- especially where older HIV positive adults are concerned.
"We need to expand the conversation about HIV drug effectiveness to include the barriers to treatment adherence. For older adults this can include mental health issues, as well as the challenge of managing multiple chronic conditions," said Jefferson. "Another major roadblock to treatment effectiveness, and by extension, treatment adherence is that we have an undersupply of primary care providers who are equipped to treat HIV in a primary care setting. HealthHIV has undertaken a major HIV workforce development initiative -- an effort that needs to be dramatically scaled up. Finally, to measurably improve health outcomes among people living with HIV, the FDA, NIH, and CMS need to find new ways to collaborate to identify and replicate the best-practice interventions to increase treatment adherence and effectiveness across the lifespan."