Cure Science Decoded: A new curriculum for the curious lay-person

September 3, 2014

Challenged by cure science? A new curriculum designed for non-scientists, advocates and cure-enthusiasts of all sorts could be just what you are looking for! This new curriculum is a collaborative project that brings together advocacy organizations (AVAC, Project Inform, TAG, NAPWHA, iBase and members of the Martin Delaney Collabratories (MDC) – such as CARE, DARE and defeatHIV, with leading researchers in the field. The effort emerged from the recognition that, while the science of HIV cure research has moved rapidly, literacy materials for lay audiences have not kept pace.

The first module in the curriculum was piloted on August 28th, 2014 with the global community advisory board (CAB) of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG). “Everybody wants a cure for HIV and has wanted it for more than 30 years. It is important to translate the science to the community and to make sure there is accurate information about HIV cure research circulating to avoid false hopes,” said Jeff Taylor, co-chair of the Collaboratory of AIDS Researchers for Eradication (CARE) CAB and a steering committee member of the curriculum collaborative. The global CAB—which consists of community advisory boards from many countries—has been asking for materials to support local engagement with communities where ACTG-supported cure research is planned or ongoing. The ACTG is one of six clinical networks maintained by the National Institutes of Health and the only network focused on HIV-positive individuals exclusively. The global CAB of the ACTG works with network administration to discuss the research priorities and needs of the communities they represent. The members were excited and positive about the curriculum’s content.

The next pilot will be held on Saturday October 4, 2014 at 8:30am at the US Conference on AIDS being held in San Diego Oct 2-5. Anyone attending USCA is welcome to attend—details can be found in the program.

When completed, the curriculum will contain 17 modules—listed below. More pilots will be held in the months to come. The curriculum is scheduled for a soft launch in February 2015 at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections taking place in Seattle, Washington. When completed, the curriculum will include participatory games, pre and post evaluations, recorded webinars, and PowerPoint slide decks.

Curriculum modules:

  • HIV/AIDS and Cure Basics
  • Role of Community in HIV Cure Research
  • Informed Consent and HIV Cure Research
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Gene Therapy
  • Shock and Kill or Latency Reversing Agents
  • Concepts in Basic Sciences and Translational Research – The Main Pathways
  • Therapeutic Vaccines and Immune-Based Therapies
  • Measuring the Latent HIV Reservoir
  • HIV Treatment Interruption
  • Participation in HIV Cure Trials
  • Regulatory Issues in HIV Cure Research
  • Early Antiretroviral Therapy

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