As the 2015 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) got underway in Seattle yesterday, February 23, we spoke with Dr. Carl Dieffenbach, Director of the Division of AIDS at NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). He discussed what we can anticipate hearing more about during this annual scientific meeting that brings together nearly 4,000 researchers from around the world to discuss their work to understand, prevent, and treat HIV/AIDS and related infectious diseases, including hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and Ebola.
Dr. Dieffenbach pointed specifically to HIV prevention study findings that will be presented throughout the four-day conference. These include findings from a number of NIAID-supported studies such as the PROMISE study on the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission and the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) 065 study on the feasibility of an enhanced test, link to care, plus treat (TLC-plus) approach for HIV prevention. He also acknowledged findings from the FACTS study of a vaginal microbicide gel to protect women against HIV infection.
Noting that a number of studies on HCV will also be presented at the meeting, Dr. Dieffenbach observes that the advent of new curative treatments for HCV present an important opportunity not only to cure a common HIV co-infection but also to draw co-infected individuals into – or back into – care for their HCV infection and use that as a stepping stone for engaging them in HIV care and treatment.
With more than 1,000 study abstracts to be shared for the first time at this conference, Dr. Dieffenbach also looks forward to study findings on efforts to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum for various populations and studies that will inform the continuing search for an HIV cure.
Tomorrow Dr. Dieffenbach will return to share brief highlights of the science presented on Tuesday, February 24. We will also begin sharing some interviews by Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, with federal colleagues who are attending CROI 2015.