amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

From the Director

We Can't Stop Now


A Sohn 

October 2011 - This has been a year of global budget cutting, planned and real reductions in development aid, and threats to the generic antiretroviral drug pipeline. In the midst of endless debates and urgent protests, however, we have seen how investments in HIV research are paying off.

The HPTN 052 study showed how earlier treatment can both improve the health outcomes of people with HIV and prevent infection in their partners. The PREDICT study (page 5) reminded us that children in Asia may not fit the same patterns of disease progression as children in other regions. And we are still trying to respond to last year's research breakthroughs on intermittent pre-exposure prophylaxis (iPrEX) and vaginal microbicides for women (CAPRISA 004). Public health agencies are scrambling to decide whether and how to incorporate these findings into prevention and treatment guidelines.

In the current funding environment, these results alone may not be enough to convince governments and donors that science still matters. An argument that should resonate with policy makers is one presented by Dr. Anthony Fauci (page 7), "Not only is [investing in HIV science] important in saving lives and preventing infection, but it is also going to save a lot of money in the future." Cost-effectiveness analyses have proven that implementing HIV interventions today saves human lives and resources tomorrow. If we stop now, we will all have to pay an even higher price.

Annette Sohn, M.D