A Chat With Jim Pickett as the First HIV Research for Prevention (HIV R4P) Conference Looms

October 28, 2014’s Julie Davids interviewed the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s Director of Prevention Advocacy and Gay Men’s Health Jim Pickett on the first HIV Research for Prevention (HIV R4P) conference, which he is currently attending in Cape Town, South Africa. Read the full interview here.jpickett biennial

Jim Pickett is a one-man example of the blurring lines in HIV prevention. The longtime advocate became an early champion of rectal microbicide research as one of the founders of International Rectal Microbicide Advocates (IRMA), but is quite fluent in the language of vaginal rings and contraception. He's now logged many hours in the world of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), from on-the-ground demonstration projects of Truvada (a coformulation of the antiretrovirals tenofovir and emtricitabine) to interest in the early research on long-acting injectables. And as a gay man living with HIV, he's deeply immersed in the realities of sexual health and human rights that can affect the perception, reach and use of HIV prevention. As one of the planners of the first HIV Research for Prevention (HIV R4P) conference, coming up in South Africa, Pickett was packing his bags to join other crosscutting prevention researchers and advocates when he took a few minutes to talk with about why he thinks this conference could float all the boats of prevention technology.

I'm talking with Jim Pickett of International Rectal Microbicide Advocates and AIDS Foundation of Chicago. You're about to get on a plane and fly to South Africa. Where are you off to, and why?

I am headed to the first ever HIV Research for Prevention conference (HIV R4P). This is the first time that the biennial microbicide conference and the annual vaccine conference are coming together and sharing space. So it's the first time this field has really had a unified conference that's covering new prevention technologies broadly. It's pretty exciting.

It does sound exciting. Why is it important to have a unified conference?

Mainly, the different modalities, the different strategies are all starting to blur. So we're thinking about long-term injectables for PrEP. We're thinking about vaccines that are given with PrEP as a starter to make sure you have some protection before the vaccine comes into play.

Read the rest of the interview here.


Categorized under Inside Story.

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