Research activists and investigators from around the world met in Atlanta on March 2, before the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), to review the current status of HIV cure research and the role of the community in accelerating and facilitating progress in this important field.
Leading HIV cure researcher Sharon Lewin, M.D., from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, gave a clinical review of past and current research and the challenges being confronted with different cure approaches. Among the topics discussed are studies exploring ways to eliminate latency and reservoirs, residual virus replication, enhance immune function to fight the virus, and making cells resistant to HIV.
Rowena Johnston, Ph.D., director of amfAR, provided an excellent review on practical barriers to HIV cure research and how the community can get involved in this effort. She spoke about ways to promote study participation, regulatory challenges, ethical issues, cost and funding concerns, to enhance cooperation among stakeholders, and how the average person can advocate to different research and policy groups.