WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The nation's war against HIV/AIDS began 30 years ago with reports that young homosexual men began to die from a new disease that was destroying their immune systems. But rather than simply observe this important milestone, the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research is using the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic to convene a major policy summit in Washington that will address the "unfinished business" of the HIV/AIDS research community – determining how to match the significant progress in drug discovery with the delivery of state-of-the-art care to every person infected or potentially infected with HIV.
Taking place on September 22, from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Capitol Hill (Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 106), the 2011 National HIV/AIDS Summit will bring together an estimated 150 scientists, clinicians, public health leaders and advocates who will draw the roadmap for accelerating the field of "implementation science" in HIV, an area focused on answering key questions that will improve the prevention, early diagnosis and consistent treatment of people with HIV. At this stage of the global response to HIV/AIDS, the research community is increasingly employing implementation science to understand why interventions are not accessed by those who need them and to develop more efficient and cost-effective ways to deliver HIV drugs and treatment services worldwide.
"This National Summit is intended as a call to action around the need to accelerate progress in closing the treatment gap so that all people with HIV can take advantage of the remarkable achievements over the last 30 years that now make it possible to live a near normal lifespan with this disease," said Veronica Miller, Ph.D., Director of the Forum. "Our goal is to take up the current challenges presented by the HIV epidemic to move the science of prevention, care and treatment forward."
Of added significance, the summit will pay tribute to Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has directed the federal government's biomedical research efforts against HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic and is now one of the world's most widely cited scientists for his contributions to HIV disease, including recently moving NIAID funding into HIV/AIDS implementation science. To honor Dr. Fauci, former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop, now 95 years old, will travel to Washington to present the NIAID Director with the C. Everett Koop HIV/AIDS Public Health Leadership Award, an award established in 2010 to recognize distinguished service, vision and leadership in HIV/AIDS research, education and advocacy. Dr. Fauci will then give a national address to policymakers and the HIV/AIDS community reflecting his lessons learned over 30 years in combating HIV/AIDS.
Assessing the Scientific Progress to Date; Defining Immediate Priorities for Implementation
Unlike the myriad meetings looking back at the 30 years of HIV/AIDS, the 2011 National Summit will not only chart the scientific progress to date in controlling the HIV epidemic but will focus on the current challenge for the scientific community -- matching the advancements in treatment with the delivery of care to every person infected or potentially infected with the virus.
Starting with a keynote address by Martin S. Hirsh, MD, Professor of Infectious Disease and Immunology at Harvard Medical School and a seminal figure in the development of multi-drug therapy for HIV, the summit will feature a prestigious panel of experts that will address the state of the science and identify the research gaps that are impeding further progress. The panelists will feature:
- Roger Pomerantz, Senior Vice President and Head of Infectious Disease at Merck & Co., Inc.
- James Curran, MD, Dean of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University
- Lynda Dee, President of AIDS Action Baltimore
- Cornelius Baker, National Policy Advisor for the National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition
- Sharon Hillier, PhD, a leader in HIV/AIDS clinical research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Because an estimated 56,300 Americans become infected with HIV every year and the disease has reached epidemic levels in developing countries, a second panel will identify the major impediments to effective HIV care in the U.S. and globally, including the growing shortage of HIV medicine specialists in the U.S., the need for sustained funding for the distribution of HIV medicines both in the U.S. and globally, and effective ways to reach, diagnose and treat both persons who are infected and those who are not yet diagnosed. Moderated by John G. Bartlett, MD, Professor of Infectious Disease at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, this panel will comprise:
- Dr. Paul Stoffels, MD, Company Group Chairman, Global Research & Development, Pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson
- Mark R. Dybul, MD, formerly U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator leading the implementation of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and currently Co-Director of the Global Health Law Program at Georgetown University's O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law
- Gregory Pappas, PhD, Director of Washington, DC's HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Disease and Tuberculosis Administration
- Christine Lubinski, Vice President of Global Health for the Infectious Disease Society of America
- Art Reingold, MD, Professor at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health and a leading researcher and authority on HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and developing countries.
Following the National Summit, Dr. Fauci will be honored by Congressional leaders and officials of the Obama Administration at a reception at the U.S. Capitol from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. The reception will take place in Room HVC-201 of the Capitol Visitors Center.
The National Summit and reception are open to public health leaders, advocates, policymakers and members of the media. Please contact Jennifer Crawford at [email protected] for more details.
About the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research
Now part of the University of California (UC), Berkeley School of Public Health and based in Washington, DC, the Forum was founded in 1997 as the outgrowth of a White House initiative. Representing government, industry, patient advocates, healthcare providers, foundations and academia, the Forum is a public/private partnership that organizes roundtables and issues reports on a range of global HIV/AIDS issues. Forum recommendations have changed the ways that clinical trials are conducted, accelerated the delivery of new classes of drugs, heightened awareness of TB/HIV co-infection, and helped to spur national momentum toward universal testing for HIV. http:// www.hivforum.org
SOURCE Forum for Collaborative HIV Research