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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UNC: The Key to Advancing HIV Cure Research? Integrating Biomedical and Sociobehavioral Approaches

In the search for an human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cure, how can researchers translate basic discoveries into clinical research that will have real-world applications? According to faculty from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, the key is integrating behavioral and social sciences research with biomedical research.

Dr. Karine Dubé, assistant professor in the Public Health Leadership Program, is lead author of “Applying the Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (BSSR) Functional Framework to HIV Cure Research,” published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society. Dubé is also lead author of “The Dose Response: Perceptions of People Living with HIV in the United States on Alternatives to Oral Daily Antiretroviral Therapy,” published in AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.

Dr. Dubé encourages a Behavioral and Social Sciences Research functional framework that offers a more thorough understanding of the human and social dimensions related to researching possible HIV cure regimens.

“We need to integrate the biomedical and behavioral sciences,” she says. “We must strengthen our cure-related studies so they are patient-centered instead of product-centered. We should focus on human-centered design that is scalable and also acceptable for those we wish to cure.”

Certain drugs used in HIV cure studies pose potential short-term and long-term risks and side effects. Some studies may require participants to discontinue their current treatment regimen to test new interventions, which can lead participants to worry about their safety.

Offering counseling and support interventions, providing information on risk reduction and engaging HIV care providers’ perceptions should all be part of research aimed toward an HIV cure.

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