WHAT ABOUT PREVENTION?
As scientists begin to talk up a cure, the old question of whether that’s the right goal has re-emerged. Seth Berkley, a medical epidemiologist and head of the U.S.-based International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is concerned.
“From a science point of view, it’s a fabulous thing to do. It’s a great target and a lot of science will be learned. But from a public health point of view, the primary thing you need to do is stop the flow of new infections,” says Berkley. “We need a prevention revolution. That is absolutely critical.”
Vuyiseka Dubula agrees. The South African activist finds talk of a cure for HIV distracting, almost disconcerting. “This research might not yield results soon, and even when it does, access to that cure is still going to be a big issue,” she says. “So in the meantime, while we don’t have the answer on whether HIV can be cured or not, we need to save lives.”
By Kate Kelland