HIV.gov shared two more updates via Facebook Live from the 2017 U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA) in Washington, DC, on Saturday, September 9, 2017. They both featured Federal HIV leaders who addressed conference participants.
NIH's Dr. Anthony Fauci on HIV Research
First we heard from Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIH's National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, who spoke with his colleague Anne Rancourt immediately following his plenary address to the conference about opportunities and challenges in ending the HIV pandemic. Research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) continues to transform the landscape for HIV prevention, care, and treatment. Dr. Fauci discussed research-proven tools currently available including preventing HIV transmission with antiretroviral therapy resulting in a suppressed viral load as well as HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Implementation gaps, he noted, are among the key challenges that still need to be addressed if we are to end the pandemic. He also observed that NIH-supported research into new tools such as long-acting PrEP in injectable or implantable forms and an HIV vaccine are among the possible routes to addressing some of those gaps in the future.
HHS, CDC and Ryan White Updates
The Federal plenary session at USCA also featured updates on other HIV activities underway at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which administers the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP). Dr. Laura Cheever, HRSA's Associate Administrator for the HIV/AIDS Bureau, and Dr. Jonathan Mermin, Director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, joined Dr. Rich Wolitski, Director of HHS's Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP), for a conversation highlighting some of the points they shared during the plenary session. In response to Rich's question about the most important messages from their presentations, Dr. Cheever pointed to improvements in viral suppression among people engaged in HIV care in the U.S. and in particular that viral suppression rates are increasing among people living with HIV who are in care in RWHAP, though some disparities remain and must be addressed. Dr. Mermin explained that he had highlighted how the nation had responded in recent years to new HIV science on the effectiveness of ART to decrease HIV transmission as well as the effectiveness of PrEP, shifting prevention efforts to make better use of both tools, moving prevention and care closer together and using public health surveillance data to help identify and re-engage people living with diagnosed HIV infection who have fallen out of care (often referred to as "data to care"). In addition, these HIV leaders discussed: recent data released on our progress implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy; efforts to combat HIV-related stigma; some activities supported by the Secretary's Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF); the impact of the opioid epidemic on HIV in the U.S.; and RWHAP's goal to cure hepatitis C coinfection among all clients living with HIV.
[Note from TheBody.com: This article was originally published by HIV.gov on Sept. 9, 2017. We have cross-posted it with their permission.]