Returning to Durban to Map a Path to Ending AIDS

Thousands of researchers, advocates, and clinicians gathered in the coastal South African city last month for AIDS 2016. Here are the highlights.

The last time a large international AIDS conference was held here, in 2000, no less than Nelson Mandela gave the marching orders. “In the face of the grave threat posed by HIV/AIDS, we have to rise above our differences and combine our efforts to save our people,” he implored the audience. “History will judge us harshly if we fail to do so now, and right now. Let us not equivocate: A tragedy of unprecedented proportions is unfolding in Africa.

Nearly two decades later, around 15,000 researchers, advocates, and policy experts flooded into Durban, South Africa’s International Conference Center from July 18-22 for AIDS 2016 (the 21st International AIDS Conference). The meeting started, appropriately enough, on the Rainbow Nation’s Nelson Mandela Day. Had the great man still been around, he would have seen the boundless energy of thousands of individuals: some living with HIV, others using science to try to defeat it, and still others trying to keep the spotlight on it while terrorism, emerging diseases, geopolitics, and contentious elections likewise vie for the world’s attention. READ MORE »

 

Understanding the Rationale for the HVTN 702 Trial

Seven years ago, a large efficacy trial in Thailand known as RV144 provided the first—and thus far only—clinical evidence of vaccine-induced protection against HIV. The two vaccine candidates tested in what is referred to as a prime-boost combination appeared to lower the risk of HIV infection by about 31%. This level of efficacy was not high enough for licensure of the vaccine regimen in Thailand, but it did provide a welcome turning point for a vaccine field that was characterized by two decades of disappointments. READ MORE »

 

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