Highlights from CROI 2012

Content From: Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, and Director, Office of HIV/AIDS Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: March 07, 20122 min read

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Ronald Validserri
The 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic InfectionsExit Disclaimer (CROI) officially opened in Seattle on Monday afternoon, March 5th. Over 4,200 researchers, providers, community leaders, and advocates from 83 countries gathered at the Washington State Convention Center to hear the opening plenary session. The first presentation was from Dr. Dennis Burton, an internationally renowned expert in HIV virology who shared newly emerging information about neutralizing antibodies to HIV that are providing scientists new insights into developing a vaccine for HIV. Next, Drs. Quarraisha and Salim Abdool Karim shared an overview of two decades of their groundbreaking prevention research in South Africa that led to the development of an effective vaginal microbicide to help protect young women from HIV infection.

The theme of prevention carried over into the plenary session on Tuesday, March 6 during which Dr. Wafaa El Sadr talked about antiretroviral therapy (ART) as an important prevention strategy. Dr. El Sadr reminded conference participants that there is no easy or single solution to achieving the promise of ART for prevention. Instead, she advocated for further research into novel strategies for expanding early diagnosis of HIV, actively linking persons into care, and developing tools, systems and processes that help people stay in care. Dr. El Sadr recognized the strength of community partnerships, including partnerships with people living with HIV/AIDS, as an essential ingredient in moving forward with a “vibrant” research agenda.

Later in the morning, a series of oral abstracts on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), microbicides and male circumcision are available online as well as webcasts and podcastsExit Disclaimer of many sessions. I urge you to visit the CROI siteExit Disclaimer and learn more about the amazing work that is being presented here in Seattle.