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Beyond the Berlin Patient: How Researchers Are Now Trying to Cure More HIV-Positive People (Video)

By Nelson Vergel

January 5, 2016

We are constantly reading headlines about the latest HIV cure. After years of being exposed to these inflamed news reports, we may get desensitized to the fact that there is actually progress being made in that field. Ever since Timothy Brown was proven to be cured, the search for a cure for HIV that is accessible worldwide has intensified. There is more funding now as different research groups compete to get there first. But we have had set backs that have taught us important lessons.

I decided to interview two leading HIV Cure research advocates on a Google hangout (webcast) to pick their brains about what has happened to people who have entered HIV cure studies. In particular, I wanted to get an update on the outcome with people who have been exposed to stem cell transfers, stem cell/CD4 cell manipulation, and those who seemed to control the virus after stopping antiretrovirals. I hope you will find this webcast as enlightening as I did!


Participants

Richard Jefferys began working in the HIV/AIDS field in 1993 at the nonprofit AIDS Treatment Data Network in New York City. Since that time he has written for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative's IAVI Report and, in late 2001, he joined the Treatment Action Group (TAG) where he now directs the Michael Palm Basic Science, Vaccines and Cure Project. The project covers the pathogenesis and immunology of HIV infection and advocates for the development of immune-based therapies, effective vaccines, and a cure.

Robert Reinhard serves as the Community Liaison and a Steering Committee member of the CanCURE research consortium, a Canadian national team grant to understand the role of myeloid/macrophage cells in HIV persistence and cure strategies. He is also a research associate and community team member in the University of Toronto laboratory of Mario Ostrowski developing a therapeutic HIV vaccine. Robert is a member of the International AIDS Society Towards an HIV Cure Industry Collaboration working group.



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Nelson Vergel is a chemical engineer who has become a leading advocate for sports nutrition, supplementation and the promotion of wellness in the HIV-positive community since his positive diagnosis in 1986. He is also the author of "Testosterone: A Man's Guide" and co-author of the book "Built to Survive"; the founder of the nonprofit organizations Body Positive Wellness Clinic and Program for Wellness Restoration; the Nutrition and Exercise forum expert at TheBody.com; and a bilingual speaker on lipodystrophy, wasting, exercise, nutrition, testosterone replacement, metabolic disorders, HIV medication side effect management and HIV salvage therapy. Nelson also moderates PozHealth, one of the largest HIV health discussion listservs online.


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