A Message from the ARI Director
The ARI continues in its mission to help build, sustain, and represent the large and vibrant community of faculty and staff members at UC San Francisco and affiliated institutions engaged in HIV research, care, and education. Our leadership has a long history of tremendous progress, but remains youthful and vigorous in addressing the most important challenges evolving in the epidemic worldwide.
Once again, UCSF’s HIV/AIDS programs represented by the ARI have been recognized as the nation’s best by US News & World Report (as they have been since rankings began in the 1990s). This is testament to the bright minds and the sense of innovation and collaboration we foster here at the ARI.
Thirty years ago, renowned ARI researcher Dr. Jay Levy was among the first to discover HIV, and together our community created a model of care and research that remains relevant to this day. Now, ARI scientists are leading efforts to unlock the scientific secrets that could ultimately cure AIDS.
I am proud of how far we have come—it is an exciting time to be working in HIV research! For the first time, we are able to speak realistically of a time when AIDS will be no more. At the 2012 International AIDS Conference co-chaired by San Francisco General Hospital’s Dr. Diane Havlir in Washington, DC, we heard the call for “an AIDS-free generation.” Through a combination of cutting-edge cure, treatment, and prevention research, we are poised to deliver on that promise.
Tools and policies pioneered at UCSF like pre-exposure antiretroviral treatment (known as PrEP) and the offering of treatment to all who test HIV-positive—when combined with tried-and-true prevention methods like the use of condoms and interventions aimed at behavior change—point the way toward an end to new infections.
ARI investigators working in Africa have learned how to maintain contact with persons entering care and are applying that knowledge locally to bring newly diagnosed persons into the “care cascade” and retain them as their HIV is suppressed to levels needed both for personal health maintenance and to block further transmission.
The lessons we learn about stopping the epidemic’s progress here in San Francisco are intimately connected to our impact throughout the world. And the ARI has a partner in our global reach through an increasingly close relationship with UCSF Global Health Sciences led by Dr. Jaime Sepulveda. The ARI and GHS share leadership and vision and, by the end of 2014, will share space as we move together to our new Mission Bay campus home in Mission Hall.
We continue to work both locally and globally to build capacity and train a new generation of leaders in HIV/AIDS research and care. It is hardly a secret that we face challenging times in our research funding. But we continue to embrace the next generation of investigators from across the University dedicated to lifelong careers in HIV research. The ARI has dedicated funding to allow some of the most promising post-doctoral fellows to launch their careers in the HIV/AIDS Division at San Francisco General Hospital.
Of course, we don’t do it alone. We owe thanks to all of our supporters, both within UCSF and beyond. Your dedication to our mission to eradicate AIDS by supporting the most promising science and scientists is invaluable. Thank you.
Paul A. Volberding, MD