UH Med Now
H20: Making Hawaii the first HIV-Free state in the U.S.
Pictured: Timothy Ray Brown, the only person ever cured of HIV, is helping the University of Hawaii (Hawaiʻi) Center for AIDS launch a multi-million dollar effort to make Hawaii the first HIV-free state. The Initiative is called “Hawaii 2 Zero”, or “H20”.
During a news conference at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) on World AIDS Day (December 1, 2015), former HIV patient Timothy Ray Brown acknowledged he had a hard time believing he was cured. In fact, he said he didn’t believe it until his case was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Mr. Brown had HIV and cancer, and his treatment for cancer, including bone marrow and stem cell transplants, ended up eradicating his HIV. Though such a treatment would only be appropriate with someone who has both cancer and HIV, the fact that Brown was cured of HIV gives researchers exciting new areas in which to focus their search for a cure for everyone. Dr. Lishomwa Ndhlovu is UH-JABSOM Associate Professor of Tropical Medicine and a Principal Investigator with the Hawaii Center for AIDS.http://manoa.hawaii.edu/hicfa/
Finding a cure is important because although people are living longer with HIV now that antiviral treatments are available, they also are showing earlier signs of aging, including cardiovascular disease and dementia. Dr. Cecilia Shikuma, Director of the Hawaii Center for AIDS, has been leading research on the subject for two decades.
Among those who are enthusiastic about the research emerging from the Hawaii Center for AIDS laboratories is Dave Purdy, the CEO of the World AIDS Institute.
The University of Hawaii hopes to raise $6 million to fund its search for a cure, and reduce Hawaii HIV cases to zero.