Fred Schaich of IFARA spoke with Sharon Lewin, FRACP, Ph.D., FAAHMS, director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne, about research on a cure for HIV. "A cure means different things to different people," Lewin said, although the long-term aspirational goal is the elimination of HIV. In 1996, highly active antiretroviral therapy was thought to constitute a cure. Then latency was discovered to be a cure barrier. Today, achieving long-term remission of the virus is considered a "functional cure" for HIV. However, measurement of such remission needs to be standardized across the industry to allow for better comparison of research on this topic, she believes.

One exciting piece of news from this conference was the report about a French teenager whose virus has been in remission for 12 years. Other cure studies presented include "shock and kill" studies in various European countries, whereby the virus is activated and then treated with a vaccine; and a clinical trial of adults who initiated treatment early and then stopped medications while being closely monitored. HIV cure research can benefit from advances in cancer research, as well, Lewin concluded.

Watch the video to learn more:

Barbara Jungwirth is a freelance writer and translator based in New York.

The video above has been posted on with permission from our partners at the International Foundation for Alternative Research in AIDS (IFARA). Visit IFARA's website or YouTube channel to watch more video interviews from the conference, as well as earlier meetings.