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Considerable progress has been made in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, but a sustained, comprehensive approach is needed to end to the pandemic, according to Dr. Salim S. Abdool Karim, a leading South African clinical infectious diseases epidemiologist and HIV prevention and treatment researcher. Abdool Karim will discuss how the global community is positioned to strengthen and reinvigorate the AIDS response during the 2014 John Ring LaMontagne Memorial Lecture titled, “Envisioning ‘The End of AIDS’: Challenges and Prospects,” at 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 13, in the Lipsett Amphitheater in Building 10.
Abdool Karim is president of the South African Medical Research Council and director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA). A long-time HIV prevention researcher, Abdool Karim was the co-principal investigator of the landmark CAPRISA 004 clinical trial, which provided proof-of-concept that antiretroviral-based vaginal gels can prevent sexually transmitted HIV infection and herpes simplex virus type 2 in women. Additionally, his research on HIV and tuberculosis co-infection has helped shape international treatment guidelines.
“Mathematical models show that available interventions have the potential to reduce HIV incidence to a level that it no longer represents a public health threat,” says Dr. Abdool Karim. But, he warns, “Ending AIDS will not be an easy task and will require much more than political commitment or biomedical tools.”
During the lecture, Abdool Karim will highlight the need for a more detailed understanding of HIV transmission at the local level along with an increased effort to address ongoing transmission and develop effective interventions tailored to fit a given community. He will also discuss the need to address gender inequalities, violence against women, stigma and discrimination to lessen the HIV/AIDS burden among at-risk populations, while strengthening health systems and programs for HIV testing, prevention, and treatment. Further, Abdool Karim will discuss the need to bolster research for an effective HIV vaccine and cure.
The NIAID-sponsored LaMontagne lecture honors contributions to NIH and public health made by Dr. LaMontagne during his 30-year career with NIAID. He earned international recognition and widespread admiration for his distinguished leadership and accomplishments in fighting emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. He served as NIAID deputy director from 1998 until his untimely death in 2004.