Thirty years into the AIDS crisis, two of the top leaders at the AIDS Research Alliance tell us how close they are to ending HIV—and what a mysterious Samoan tree has to do with their work.
The ARA has been at the forefront of HIV treatment and prevention research for 22 years, but the work of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit is now primarily focused on finding a cure. ARA president and CEO Carolyn Carlburg and Stephen Brown, ARA vice president and medical director, talked to HIV Plus about their work for a cure and why you’ll be hearing the words “prostratin” and “reservoirs” much more in the coming years.
HIV Plus: We just passed the 30th year of the first diagnosed case of AIDS. We hear a lot about prevention and treatment. Why aren’t we hearing more about a cure?
Stephen Brown: Part of the reason is that for many years a cure seemed too difficult a goal to pursue, and there didn’t seem any widespread support for research in that area. For example, when grants came out about 10 years ago and they identified the areas of science where research really needed to be done, there was a spot on the list for persistent infections including HIV, but it really wasn’t followed up with funding. The funding in this area has always been difficult to obtain and some of these [research] institutions have been under the financial pressures—the amount of institutions getting their grants funded range from 25% to as low as 8%. And so when you have situations like that, what gets funded tends to be safe research that will produce the expected results or insights—there’s not a big sense of risk taking at those institutions. So it was only really two years ago that National Institute for Health began to entertain the possibility of a research program in this area.
Complete article at HIV Plus Mag : http://bit.ly/uj9I0i