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Cure for HIV ‘major priority’

Cure for HIV ‘major priority’

LAST UPDATED // Tuesday, 29 July 2014 11:22 Written by // James Findlay

A new study published in The Lancet says although there has been much advancement in HIV prevention and treatment, finding a cure for HIV is now a ‘major scientific priority’.

Co-author Professor Sharon Lewin told MCV despite recent breakthroughs in regards to possible cures, we’re still “a long way off for a cure for people living with HIV”.

“We’re at the real beginnings of facing that challenge of finding a cure and there’s been a lot of exciting new [advancements] over the past five years mainly that the cure is possible,” Lewin said.

“To move that from a handful of cases to a wider accessible cure is still a massive task.”

She added that increased funding and increased scientific interest, as well as the global agreement that a cure is a high priority, are all encouraging.

Here in Australia, the government has yet to follow in the footsteps of other global powers that are playing great leadership roles to help find a cure for HIV, with the US Government by far the biggest funder in HIV research.

Lewin said: “On World AIDS Day last year, President Obama announced another $100 million towards HIV cure research and Canada and the UK have also identified dedicated funds [towards funding a cure].

“We haven’t yet gone down that path in Australia, but it’s an initiative that would be great to be led by our government as well.”

The Department of Infectious Diseases at Monash is exploring new ways to ‘wake up’ the sleeping virus to make it visible to drugs and the immune system.

Despite rumours that a cure might be announced at the upcoming AIDS 2014 Conference, Lewin who is also conference co-chair said:

“That would have been very nice, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”


James Findlay

James Findlay

James Findlay is a Melbourne-based journalist and broadcaster who has worked in community media for many years. He has won awards for his work on The Naughty Rude Show on SYN, and can be heard on JOY 94.9's breakfast program, Triple Threat, and Hide and Seek - exploring sex, sexuality and self. He is currently completing his Master of Public Health specialising in Sexual Health at Melbourne University, and a tutor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University.

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