Leading scientists and research stakeholders are calling for accelerated research toward a cure for HIV, according to an International AIDS Society (IAS) statement. The Advisory Board of the IAS International Scientific Working Group released its “Rome Statement for an HIV Cure” during the IAS 2011 conference in Rome.

Recent advances have led to a resurgence of optimism about the prospect of a functional cure for HIV. A functional cure would not eliminate the virus from the body. It would permanently suppress viral replication and minimize viral reservoirs so that a patient’s immune system would control HIV without antiretroviral medications.

To this end, the working group is developing a global research strategy-titled “Towards an HIV Cure”-focusing on the problems posed by HIV persistence in viral reservoirs. The strategy will be presented at the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) in Washington, DC, in 2012.

The Rome statement lists the following objectives as key to the strategy:

  • 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.
  • Commit to stimulating international and multidisciplinary research collaborations in the field of HIV cure research.
  • 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 that the advisory board is building.

The working group is cochaired by Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, PhD, the IAS president-elect and 2008 Nobel Laureate for Medicine; and Steve Deeks, MD, of the University of California at San Francisco and Positive Health Program at San Francisco General Hospital.

The advisory board is cochaired by Barré-Sinoussi and Jack Whitescarver, PhD, associate director for AIDS research and director of the Office of AIDS Research at the National Institutes of Health.

To read the IAS statement, click here.

To read the Rome statement and to sign the statement of endorsement, click here.