A cure for HIV infection - the International AIDS Society meeting in Kuala Lumpur in early July offered new hope of the possibility, after researchers announced that two "Boston patients" had shown no resurgence of the virus after receiving a bone marrow transplant and ceasing their antiretroviral therapy (ART). Johns Hopkins bioethicist and physician Jeremy Sugarman, MD, MPH, MA, author of an opinion published August 12 in Annals of Internal Medicine, is available for comment on the crucial ethical considerations in HIV cure research.
In his opinion, "HIV Cure Research: Expanding the Ethical Considerations" Sugarman highlights the importance of considering and managing risk for the sexual partners of research subjects, and maintaining confidentiality as has been done with such geographic monikers as the "Boston patients" and the "Mississippi baby."
"Findings can easily be misinterpreted, needlessly inflating hope," Sugarman writes, stressing the need for balanced, accessible public information about HIV cure research. Good science and the welfare of research participants depend on addressing critical ethical issues from the outset, Sugarman says.
Sugarman is the Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Bioethics and Medicine and deputy director for medicine at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.