Early in 2015, Bill Gates expressed optimism that a vaccine and a cure for HIV would be developed within the next fifteen years. There are certainly grounds for such optimism, with a number of studies, spanning back to 2009, providing promising results. One such example includes a cohort of study participants in France who showcase long-term suppression of HIV replication without ART – a “functional cure.”
Nevertheless, TAG warns that sustained advocacy and research is required if progress is to continue. Moreover, media coverage following Gates’ statement could complicate such endeavors, with headlines confusing hope for inevitability. Among the major issues facing continued work toward a cure or a vaccine are research funding efforts failing to keep pace with inflation, unclear regulatory pathways to approval for HIV vaccines and cures, and addressing issues of healthcare access for those who need it.