Global Reach

amfAR’s wide-ranging research to be featured at International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science 2023

IAS 2023

The 12th IAS Conference on HIV Science in Brisbane, Australia, July 23–26, promises to deliver the latest advances in HIV prevention, treatment, and cure research, including the late-breaking announcement of another person seemingly cured of HIV.

Asier Sáez-Cirión PhD, Assistant Professor in the "Regulation of Retroviral infections" Unit, Virology Department, Institut Pasteur. Photo © Institut Pasteur/ François Gardy
Asier Sáez-Cirión PhD, Head of the Institut Pasteur’s Viral Reservoirs and Immune Control Unit.. Photo © Institut Pasteur/ François Gardy

The individual, known as the Geneva Patient, received a stem cell transplant to treat a sarcoma and HIV. Unlike the other five individuals cured via stem cell transplant, the individual did not receive donor cells with the CCR5 mutation, which renders them essentially immune to HIV infection. After 18 months without antiretrovirals, the person shows no sign of viral rebound and appears to be the sixth person to have been cured of HIV.

Along with multiple co-authors, the lead author of the study, Dr. Asier Sáez-Cirión, of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, is a member of amfAR’s ICISTEM, a consortium of European researchers dedicated to studying HIV cures via stem cell transplant. Two other individuals who have been cured—Adam Castillejo (the London patient) and Marc Franke (the Düsseldorf patient)—were also part of the ICISTEM cohort. While this cure strategy is not viable for most, the procedure does provide a wealth of information for HIV cure science and in particular the HIV reservoir, the main barrier to a cure.

Notably, amfAR grantee Dr. Ya-Chi Ho, of Yale University, an expert on the HIV reservoir and mechanisms of HIV persistence, will be a featured speaker at the conference.

Dr. Ya-Chi Ho, Yale University
Dr. Ya-Chi Ho, Yale University

Other conference highlights include:

  • amfAR-related research focused on expanding access to treatment and services for people living with and at risk for HIV around the world, particularly in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.
  • In addition to two PEPFAR analyses on the program’s recency surveillance strategy and key population budgets and expenditures, presentations by amfAR public policy staff will focus on HIV prevention and care for key populations in South Africa based on data from community-led monitoring.
  • TREAT Asia network researchers working in Thailand and Malaysia will present on fine-tuning screenings to help individuals engage in care. Research will also be presented on suicidal behaviors among Thai adolescents and young adults living with HIV.
  • Drawing on data from the Asia-Pacific cohort of IeDEA, a research consortium co-led by amfAR’s TREAT Asia program, other presentations will focus on older adults living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries in relation to mental health and alcohol use.
  • TREAT Asia researchers will also share findings on HIV treatment outcomes after 10 years on ART in the TREAT Asia and Australian HIV Observational Databases, and will report on the development of the HIV Care Continuum & Beyond Initiative, co-led by amfAR/TREAT Asia, and its focus on ending HIV in the Asia-Pacific region.

For a full list of amfAR-related presentations, click here.

Members of the TREAT Asia Observational Database (TAHOD) research team
Some of the members of amfAR’s TREAT Asia research network with Dr. Annette Sohn, vice president and director of TREAT Asia (fifth from left), and Jeremy Ross, TREAT Asia’s director of research (third from right)

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