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The XVII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2008)
  
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Medical News

Fauci, Piot Discuss Progress in HIV/AIDS Treatments, Prevention

August 7, 2008

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot on Wednesday at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City discussed progress in HIV/AIDS treatments and prevention efforts and the future of HIV treatment, Bloomberg reports.

According to Fauci, HIV-positive people eventually might be able to stop taking drugs and live without symptoms if they are treated aggressively with newer antiretroviral drugs. Treating patients soon after they are contract HIV could protect the immune system and suppress their viral loads, allowing them to slowly stop taking the drugs.

Fauci said that he believes physicians will someday "be able to ... eradicate HIV microbiologically" in "some patients, not very many," and have a "functional cure" for others. He said such a possibility "will likely require aggressive drug regimens and rely on the timing of initiating therapy." A "cure will likely require early diagnosis and treatment," Fauci said, adding, "Studies need to be done in [the] next few years to determine if very aggressive therapy early on will allow us to get a functional cure." In addition, a vaccine that targets people with a specific genetic makeup could be available within 20 years, Fauci said. Fauci said that while research into an HIV vaccine is ongoing, researchers also are looking into using antiretrovirals to prevent HIV.

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Piot said that the pharmaceutical industry needs to continue to invest in the development of new HIV treatments and look into the possibility of using existing antiretrovirals to prevent HIV transmission. "We have to make sure the drug development remains in step with the evolution of the virus and that industry continues to invest," Piot said, adding that there are "worrying signs that that isn't the case, and that is something we have to put on the table."

In addition, effective prevention methods that target men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers and injection drug users need to be scaled up to slow the spread of the virus, Piot said, adding that health workers also must learn how to target prevention messages more effectively. "No company will try to sell soap if they haven't done research for the community they are trying to sell to," Piot said, adding, "It would pay off if we could bring that experience from the business world to our amateur approaches" to HIV prevention campaigns (Pettypiece, Bloomberg, 8/6).

Kaisernetwork.org is the official webcaster of the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. Click here to sign up for your Daily Update e-mail during the conference. A webcast on AIDS research featuring Fauci and Piot is available online.

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Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2008 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.


  
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
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AIDS 2008 Newsroom



Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.

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