Medicine continues to evolve just as diseases grow and get more complicated and venues are necessary for the scientific body to exchange ideas and work to improve public care and public health. YRG CARE's International Science Symposium on HIV and Infectious Diseases HIV Science 2012 inaugurated at the at the Vigyan Auditorium, Chennai, India this morning, stressed the need for younger people to come up with fresh ideas and projects for new research especially in the field of HIV/AIDS to tackle a mature epidemic that's been burdening the world for the last four decades. Findings from the recent major randomized clinical trial (HPTN052) in which India participated, were widely discussed at the inaugural session. The results indicated that treating an HIV-infected individual with antiretrovirals can reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV to the uninfected partner by 96%.
International experts speak on tackling HIV/AIDS
AdvertisementInaugurating the symposium Prof Myron S. Cohen MD, Associate Vice Chancellor of Global Health and Director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina, USA, related the successful Clinical trial HPTN052 to the basic science that made it possible. Basic science for instance, questions how much HIV were there in secretions? Which drug should be used for the trial? What strategy should be used and to what measure? Crediting the success of the trial to the underpinnings of basic science, Dr. Cohen also said that such a large trial was possible due to the generosity of a host of people, the investigators, health professionals, the participants and the organizers who worked in the interests of society.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof John Mills MD, formerly the Director of the Burnet Institute and the National Centre in HI, Virology Research, Melbourne, Australia said, with new cases of HIV/AIDS rising world over, it was important for research scholars to use the symposium to draw inspiration and pack their perspiration, energy and creativity into finding new prevention and treatment strategies for infectious diseases such as AIDS.
Prof Jorg Schupbach MD, Director, Swiss National Center for Retroviruses, Institute of Medical Virology, University of Zurich, Switzerland, observed that international AIDS conferences were previously always held in leading cities of the West. He was pleased that such conferences are now moving to India which shows that knowledge and collaboration are spreading to different parts of the world. Dr. Ramesh Paranjape, PhD Director, National AIDS Research Institute, India invited younger people to participate in HIV/AIDS research and take it forward. It is imperative that we create new strategies and new tools to make the prevention and treatment of the HIV epidemic a great success.
India's contribution in the fight against HIV/AIDS
In a press meet that followed the inaugural function, Prof Myron S. Cohen outlined the challenges in detecting and treating HIV all over the world. The initial testing for HIV among the population to detect HIV infected persons such as the effort undertaken by institutes like YRG CARE is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Next comes the linkage to care where the primary goal is to link the newly HIV diagnosed individual to medical care. It is important to ensure that the medical care is reasonably easy for the patient to access in his or her setting. HIV/AIDS drugs are very expensive and are rationed to the patients. India's contribution in the fight against HIV/AIDS is by way of making cheaper and effective drugs available to the patients.
While agreeing that strict adherence to medication was very essential for patients and posed a huge challenge to outreach care workers, Dr. Suniti Solomon said "since the Government of India has rolled out free ART (Antiretroviral Therapy), HIV/AIDS patients should be at it." The seriously fatal dimensions that HIV infections can take are yet to sink into patients and the experts mentioned more episodes of heart problems and similar complications leading to death, that were in store for those who treated the infection lightly and discontinued medication. Since Viral load monitoring is expensive there is an increased dependence on CD4 testing. "Given the dynamic nature of medical technology, there are positive signs that testing and treatment costs for HIVwill come down," Prof. Cohen observed.
The 4th National and 1st International Science Symposium will continue for 3 days covering various topics in many scientific sessions on HIV epidemiology, pathogenesis, host-virus interactions, immune responses to infection, co-infections, vaccines and infectious diseases other than STDs, TB and viral hepatitis. The scientific forum will hopefully move closer to finding a vaccine to prevent HIV and arrive at new strategies to prevent and cure HIV/AIDS, one of the deadliest epidemics known to affect humans.