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.