The Rome Statement for an HIV Cure
Major HIV/AIDS Stakeholders Call for HIV Cure Research to be Accelerated
The year 2011 marked 30 years since the first AIDS cases were reported. During these three decades significant progress has been made in the global response against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In particular, development of efficient antiretroviral drugs and their expanding availability have ensured that millions of people living with HIV live a healthy life.
Nevertheless, while the benefit of antiretroviral treatment is irrefutable, the maintenance of a persistent infection in patients despite years of antiretroviral therapy precludes any discontinuation of treatment. This life-long requirement is both an individual and public health burden. In addition, for every person starting antiretroviral treatment, two new infections occur . In a context of global economic crisis with the resulting pressure on international funding of the HIV/AIDS response, the long-term sustainability of treatment rollout is in jeopardy. The recent change in the WHO guidelines recommending an earlier initiation of HIV treatment makes the situation even more challenging. Investments to develop new therapeutic strategies that will ultimately allow HIV infected patients to discontinue their treatment are of the utmost urgency.
Recent scientific advances in HIV research have led to a re-emergence of interest and optimism in the prospects of a cure for HIV. The development of, at least, a functional cure that, without completely eliminating the virus from the body, would permanently suppress its replication and considerably diminish viral reservoirs, possibly leading to the long-term remission of patients. Not only would such a strategy act as therapy at the individual level but, considering the growing evidence that HIV transmission is dramatically reduced in the absence of detectable viral load, it would most probably contribute to HIV prevention at the population level. Nevertheless, these efforts should come in addition to the current treatment rollout and prevention strategies.
A functional HIV cure can only be achieved through an increased and concerted international effort engaging not only the scientific community but all stakeholders involved in the HIV/AIDS response and global health.
Under the auspices of the International AIDS Society, a group of internationally recognized scientists and stakeholders developed a Global Scientific Strategy:Towards an HIV Cure
. The strategy aims at building a global consensus on the state of the HIV reservoirs research and defining scientific priorities that need to be addressed by future research to tackle HIV persistence in patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy.
As members of the Advisory Board of the Towards an HIV Cure:
- We recognize the importance of developing a safe, accessible and scalable HIV cure as a therapeutic and preventive strategy against HIV infection and to help control the AIDS epidemic.
- We are committed to stimulating international and multidisciplinary research collaborations in the field of HIV cure research.
- We encourage other stakeholders, international leaders and organizations to contribute to accelerating HIV cure research through their own initiatives and/or by endorsing this statement and supporting the alliance we are building.
Now, more than ever, it is time to seriously start looking for an HIV cure.
Advisory Board Members – Global Scientific Strategy “Towards an HIV Cure”:
- Bertrand Audoin, International AIDS Society
- Craig McClure, World Health Organization
- Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, International AIDS Society
- Jack Whitescarver, United States National Institutes of Health
- Jean-François Delfraissy, French Agence Nationale de Recherche sur le Sida et les Hépatites Virales
- Mark Harrington, Treatment Action Group
- Nikos Dedes, International Treatment Preparedness Coalition
- Paola de Carli,Sidaction
- Paula Munderi, MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS
- Rowena Johnston, amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
International Working Group Members – Global Scientific Strategy “Towards an HIV Cure”:
- Alain Lafeuillade, Toulon General Hospital, France
- Alan Landay, Rush University Medical Center, USA
- Amalio Telenti, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
- Ann Woolfrey, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, USA
- Ben Berkhout, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Carine Van Lint, University of Brussels, Belgium
- Christine Katlama, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, France
- David Margolis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
- Eric Verdin, University of California, San Francisco, USA
- Frank Maldarelli, NCI/NIH, USA Guido Poli, San Raffaele University and Scientific Institute, Italy
- Guido Silvestri, Emory University School of Medicine, USA
- Javier Martinez-Picado, Foundation Germans Trias I Pujol for Biomedical Research, Spain
- Jean-Pierre Routy, McGill University, Canada
- Jim Mullins, University of Washington, USA
- John Mellors, University of Pittsburgh, USA
- John Zaia, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, USA
- Mario Stevenson, University of Miami Medical School, USA
- Martin Markowitz, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, USA
- Melissa Churchill, Burnet Institute, Australia
- Michael Lederman, Case Western Reserve University, USA
- Michele Di Mascio, NIAID/NIH, USA
- Nicolas Chomont, VGTI- Florida, USA
- Sarah Palmer, Karolinska Institute, Sweden
- Sharon Lewin, The Alfred, Monash University and Burnet Institute, Australia
- Steven Deeks, University of California, San Francisco, USA
- David Haerry. European Aids Treatment Group
- Stefano Vella, Istituto Superiore di Sanita, IAS 2011 Co-Chair