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December 1, 2009

AIDS cure isn't out of reach

"Outside medical research circles, though, the idea of a cure for AIDS is rarely discussed seriously. There is no special organization or department at the National Institutes of Health dedicated to a cure. There are no editorials in the press calling for more research into "HIV eradication," the technical term for a cure. There is no annual research update on the subject for the general public or annual prize for the most promising work in the field - even though 33 million people have HIV and 25 million have died of AIDS.

"Yet, in private conversations, small meetings, and medical journals, leading researchers are calling for a renewed focus on eradicating the AIDS virus. They also have identified promising avenues for attacking the problem. Although few people realize it, eradication studies require fewer patients than the huge trials needed to test a vaccine, and they can often be done more quickly.

"At the same time, the National Institutes of Health - perhaps our best hope for funding a cure for AIDS - has been underfunded since 2003. One consequence has been less money for HIV eradication research, and less hope for younger scientists and innovative ideas."

Read more in The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 1, 2009.