In the 30 years since the first reported cases of a mysterious illness now known as AIDS, researchers have made extraordinary advances in understanding, treating and preventing the disease. Now the challenge, according to experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is to build on those successes to control and, ultimately, end the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
In an article published online today by the Annals of Internal Medicine, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., NIAID Director, and Carl W. Dieffenbach, Ph.D., Director of the NIAID Division of AIDS, discuss three research and implementation goals they believe are key to successfully achieving the long-term objective of ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic:
- Efficiently identify greater numbers of HIV-infected people earlier in the course of their disease through expanded voluntary HIV testing programs, and link them to appropriate care and antiretroviral treatment
- Find innovative approaches to curing HIV/AIDS by eradicating or permanently suppressing the virus in infected people, thereby eliminating the need for lifelong antiretroviral therapy
- Scale-up implementation of proven HIV prevention strategies, develop additional effective prevention strategies, such as a vaccine, and build on current successes in pre-exposure prophylaxis, microbicides and treatment-as-prevention to achieve a sustainable and comprehensive, combination HIV prevention strategy
In their paper, the authors explore the challenges and opportunities associated with each of these goals, noting that an integrated strategy combining a variety of effective public health tools is needed to successfully curb HIV/AIDS in the future.
ARTICLE: CW Dieffenbach and AS Fauci. Thirty years of HIV and AIDS: Future challenges and opportunities. Annals of Internal Medicine (2011).
NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is available to discuss the article.
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