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UCSF symposium considers biomedical approaches to HIV/AIDS prevention

New and emerging biomedical approaches to HIV/AIDS prevention will be the focus of a daylong symposium on February 24 sponsored by the UCSF-Gladstone Institute for Virology and Immunology Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies.

"Defining new biomedical approaches capable of curbing the global HIV epidemic is a high priority. This symposium will provide a timely overview of the most promising advances," said Warner C. Greene, MD, PhD, director of the Gladstone Institute for Virology and Immunology (GIVI) and co-director of the UCSF-GIVI CFAR.

Use of antiretrovirals for HIV prevention in uninfected individuals at high risk for infection, herpes suppression, male circumcision and the successful treatment of HIV-infected individuals with antiretrovirals are some of the approaches that will be under discussion at the symposium.

"With the setbacks in HIV vaccine development and a still expanding epidemic, we are forced to consider all options to prevent HIV transmission. Along with ongoing and critical efforts to understand and reduce behaviors of risk, we are deeply interested in how biologic barriers may be employed in effective prevention," said Paul A. Volberding, MD, UCSF-GIVI CFAR co-director and professor and vice-chair, UCSF Department of Medicine.

"Antiretroviral therapies are extremely potent and convenient in reducing HIV replication and might be part of a comprehensive effort to couple treatment with prevention. In selected situations, antiretroviral therapy may be used solely as prevention in persons otherwise unable to avoid potential exposure to infection. These and other topics promise to generate a lively and informative debate," added Volberding.

In addition to examining biomedical approaches, the symposium will address topics related to the conduct of clinical trials investigating these approaches and issues associated with implementation and scale-up of biomedical prevention interventions once they have been proven effective in clinical trials.

"Understanding the impact of behavioral issues such as consistent pill-taking or proper product usage as well as the difficulties of measuring these through trial participants' self reporting is crucial to successfully conducting clinical trials of biomedical approaches," said Stephen F. Morin, professor of medicine and director of the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS).

"Moreover, the symposium will address the social science components involved in the implementation and scale-up of interventions following positive results in a clinical trial. For instance, male circumcision trials have shown success in preventing HIV acquisition but, as we will discuss, there are significant cultural, social and behavioral considerations that must be addressed if the intervention is going to be successfully implemented," said Morin.

The symposium will be held at UCSF's Mission Bay campus at the Mission Bay Conference Center beginning at 9 a.m. The full program can be found, along with information about parking, mass transit and registration online at The event is free, though registration is required.


Contact: Jeff Sheehy
University of California - San Francisco

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