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Accelerating Research to Cure AIDS Campaign

Scientist increasingly believe a cure for AIDS is possible.

In the past two years a growing scientific consensus has emerged that it will be possible to cure AIDS—possibly within the next decade, if the right scientific resources, political support, and regulatory framework are put into place.

Curing AIDS will have an historical impact on human lives and the global future.

Right now, 33 million people are living with HIV infection, just five million of them receiving lifesaving antiretroviral therapy. Meanwhile, 2.1 million new infections occur each year. If a cure for HIV can be discovered and rolled out globally, it has the potential to save tens of millions of lives, with enormous societal, economic, and humanitarian benefits.

The time has come for an all-out scientific research campaign to cure AIDS.

Just as strong science-based community activism was essential in the 1990s to accelerate the new HIV treatment and diagnostics, so it will be essential in the coming decade for strong community and science-based activism to demand the resources, focus the agenda, and accelerate the momentum toward a cure for AIDS.

TAG has led the way in making HIV cure research a global scientific priority.

Treatment Action Group (TAG) spearheaded the revival of scientific and political interest in curing HIV infection by cosponsoring a workshop held in Washington, D.C., in 2008—“Eliminating Viral Persistence & Eradicating HIV Infection.” The workshop, designed by researchers who played a leading role in discovering the body’s latent reservoir of HIV-infected cells in the late 1990s and who treated many people at all stages of HIV infection, provided an opportunity for scientists, research program administrators, and activists to strategize about the best way forward toward curing HIV.

“A combination of approaches will be needed in order to achieve a cure that is safe and scalable… The NIH is fully committed to curative research and… a number of pharmaceutical companies are developing a strong and sustained interest. The role of non-government funders [and]… community-based groups such as TAG… should not be taken for granted. These groups… have been instrumental in pushing curative research to where it is now being perceived as a global research priority.”

– Steven G. Deeks, Department of Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital/University of California San Francisco. “Will an HIV Infection Cure Ever Be Achievable?” (February 26, 2011)

TAG’s leadership led to new funding and scientific interest in curing AIDS.

Over the past two years, HIV cure research gained renewed scientific attention. Progress is beginning to accelerate:

  • In March 2009, amfAR awarded the first $1.4 million in grants for researchers to collaborate on an AIDS research consortium for HIV eradication.
  • In June 2010, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a call for proposals to accelerate research on an HIV cure through the Martin Delaney Collaboratory, an interdisciplinary consortium which will receive up to $42.5 million over five years.
  • In July 2010, seven scientists published an overview of potential approaches to cure HIV in Science magazine.
  • In December 2010, German scientists published the first credible reported cure of a living person from HIV infection in the journal Blood.
  • In April 2011, TAG cosponsored the second community workshop on HIV cure research, focusing on clinical trial issues essential for moving the field forward.

The April 2011 cure workshop—cosponsored by TAG, the AIDS Policy Project, amfAR, and Project inform—identified key issues in the conduct of HIV cure related clinical trials, with the goal of creating a regulatory and funding environment conducive to this research. Follow-up advocacy will target the Food & Drug Administration to ensure it encourages rigorous, ethical, flexible, and safe 21st century scientific clinical trials to cure HIV infection.

TAG’s campaign to cure AIDS honors the legacy of Michael Palm.

Philanthropist and person with AIDS Michael Palm was TAG’s first major donor. In 1998, Michael passed away, leaving an endowment to the Michael Palm Foundation. In 2006, the Foundation awarded TAG a four-year, $1 million grant to support the Michael Palm Basic Science, Vaccines, and Prevention Project. This funding allowed our research advocacy to flourish and sparked the work that led to recent cure workshops, cosponsored by TAG.

Michael was a fighter, not just for his own life, but for the lives of millions of others worldwide. TAG has chosen to honor and continue the legacy of Michael Palm with our Accelerating Research to Cure AIDS Campaign.

TAG aims to raise $1 million over the next four years to speed AIDS cure research.

Now that seeds of progress have begun to sprout in the search for a cure for HIV, it is more important than ever that an activist-based think tank has the resources to support thoughtful, passionate, and sophisticated science-based community activist leadership to mobilize resources, help guide research investments, maximize efficiency, and ensure that the voices of those communities most affected by AIDS have a significant role in moving this world-changing research forward.

To carry out TAG’s Accelerating Research to Cure AIDS Campaign, we need the support of both new and established TAG donors and supporters of AIDS research. Our goal is to raise $250,000 each year for the next four years to support this critical work, making the substantial investment required to push the AIDS research agenda, funding, and political will toward a cure.

Over the next four years, with secured funding, TAG’s Accelerating Research to Cure AIDS Campaign will:

  • Encourage researchers to focus high-quality scientific efforts on a cure for AIDS.
  • Increase global and domestic support and funding for AIDS cure research.
  • Facilitate coordination and communication among public and private researchers and among international and U.S. decision makers to make the most of every dollar.

Contributors to TAG’s Accelerating Research to Cure AIDS Campaign will be asked to commit at least $5,000 annually. Some generous contributors have already stepped up to this challenge and are leading the way.

Investing in TAG’s activism helps leverage millions of dollars in smart research investments.

TAG is a small advocacy organization with a razor-sharp focus on research to end the epidemic, and activism to ensure everyone affected receives the best possible prevention, treatment, and care.

Investing in TAG’s activism will help ensure that the big players in AIDS research—from the NIH, drug companies, private foundations, and governments in the rich and poor worlds—spend their money in smart, coordinated, collaborative ways, speeding research to answer the most intractable barriers to a cure.

In 2011, TAG will publicly launch the Accelerating Research to Cure AIDS Campaign at a special reception where TAG supporters can meet one another and hear from TAG’s executive director and from key scientists on the progress to date, the challenges we face, and the opportunities we will seek to maximize in the years ahead.

Benefits of being an Accelerating Research to Cure AIDS Campaign founding member also include periodic seminars with top AIDS research analysts and researchers offering their unbiased expertise on research progress and failures in recent months.

Take this step with us today so we can find a cure for AIDS.

Given recent advances in research and newly published studies, it is now time that TAG lead the call to encourage greater research, influence policymakers, and increase funding to find a cure for AIDS.

How you can join TAG’s Accelerating Research to Cure AIDS Campaign

Donations can be made via check (made payable to TAG), online using your credit card, or by donating stock.

To make a donation of stock, please contact TAG.

Treatment Action Group

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