Leading Minds in HIV and Infection Control to Share Research Findings at CROI Conference

While significant progress has been made in the last few years to curb HIV in sub-Saharan Africa via the expansion of antiretroviral treatment (ART) and viral load testing in resource-limited settings, it would be a mistake to assume there is not extensive work that must still be undertaken [1]. Currently, sub-Saharan Africa is home to 70% of all people living with HIV, many of whom are undiagnosed or vulnerable to opportunistic infections [2, 3]. To address the challenges that persist in infectious disease prevention and control, the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) will take place in Boston, USA from 22-26 February 2016.

CROI will bring together leading minds in scientific research and laboratory medicine to share information on the latest advancements in HIV prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, and generate strategies to tackle the most pressing challenges related to HIV and its associated infections, such as Cryptococcal Meningitis, a potentially deadly fungal disease [4]. Conferences like CROI provide a wide-scale platform for the presentation and exchange of discoveries and research findings among scientists, clinical investigators, and other health professionals.

“The scientific research provided by CROI is essential to those who are working to control and eliminate HIV and related opportunistic infections,” says Dr. Trevor Peter, ASLM Chair. “It takes a significant amount of knowledge from multiple sources to get an accurate picture of the state of disease threats, drug resistance, and care developments across the entire continent of Africa and the world at large.”

Preceding the widely-attended CROI is a more specialised meeting of the WHO HIV Drug Resistance Network (HIVResNet), which will serve as an open opportunity for attendees to review and advise on the global response to HIV drug resistance (HIVDR). Using this interactive exchange, the HIVResNet experts will develop strategies to monitor and prevent HIVDR and contribute to a five-year HIVDR Global Action Plan.

Findings from both the HIVResNet meeting and CROI will be essential to the ongoing work of both ASLM and the African Public Health Laboratories Network (APHLN), an interconnected laboratory network that promotes collaboration and coordination among health facilities on the continent. As laboratory systems – and their exchange of best practices – are essential to preventing the resurgence of HIV and reaching those in need of treatment for infections, the integration of outcomes from the HIVResNet meeting and CROI will ultimately serve to strengthen local laboratory services and improve patient outcomes.

Webcasts, abstracts, electronic posters, and other electronic resources from CROI 2016 will be available online.

By: Sam Donnenberg; Editor: Rachel Crane, Corey White

– – –

[1] The Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic. (2015, November 25). Retrieved February 15, 2016 from https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/global-statistics/

[2] Global HIV and AIDS statistics. (2015, October 2). Retrieved February 15, 2016 from http://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-around-world/global-statistics

[3] Opportunistic infections. (2015, January 16). Retrieved February 15, 2016 from http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/livingwithhiv/opportunisticinfections.html

[4] CDC. (n.d.). Cryptococcal meningitis: a deadly fungal disease among people living with HIV/AIDS. Retrieved February 15, 2016 from http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/pdf/at-a-glance-508c.pdf