USG @ AIDS 2012: How to Talk About a “Cure”

In an interview with Director Miguel Gomez, Dr. Carl Dieffenbach discussed how to talk about “a cure” for HIV, and how talk of a cure is different from talk of an “AIDS-free generation.” Dr. Dieffenbach is Director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

According to Dr. Dieffenbach, it’s vitally important for community members to understand that, although new scientific developments are exciting, scientists are still at the earliest stages of research for a cure. To explain the current state of research, he drew an analogy, saying “It’s not that we have a glass that’s half empty or half full, but for the first time we have a sense of what the glass is.”

While recognizing important forward momentum, Dr. Dieffenbach cautioned against overpromising, arguing that a cure for HIV will not be available for some time. “I can’t put a time frame on it, but at the end of the day, research is an amazing engine.”

Immediately prior to AIDS 2012, a group of renowned scientists from around the world released Exit Disclaimer the first-ever global research strategy Exit Disclaimer for an HIV cure. The Towards an HIV Cure initiative is convened by the International AIDS Society, Exit Disclaimer with participation by National Institutes of Health leadership and other international stakeholders. A Kaiser Foundation webcast of the July 19, 2012 press conference to announce the release of the global research strategy is available here.

The full interview with Dr. Dieffenbach appears below.


  1. The main point is to believe in a hope for a cure, but in the mean time, there are things i know i can be changed. One of them is prevention, more research on different option for a cure, and ryan white re-designing funding for women, family support.We also need ryan white directing funding to community based obsticles for people not in care. insted of eliminating community based organiztions, which have peers whom already have the education for the targeted areas.Please strengthen and preserve the community planning process, so that together with CBOs, will be able to improve family’s with kids, and people not in care.

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