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Increased antiretroviral therapy has led to a decline in the number of persons dying from AIDS. However, the large number of people dying from opportunistic infections (OIs) brought about by HIV-induced immunodeficiencies is disheartening. For example, in Africa there are over a million cases of cryptococcosis per year in AIDS patients, with over half dying. Tuberculosis remains a major problem, with HIV+ persons fueling its spread in general populations. In the US, coinfection with Hepatitis [HCV] is common, due to overlapping risk factors. Sadly, many coinfected patients die from HCV infection despite ART controlling their HIV load. Better methods of prevention, earlier diagnosis, and treatment remain urgently needed. UMMS houses many active research groups who study the microbiology and immunology of infections associated with HIV. The mission of this Scientific Working Group is to integrate these research groups with the HIV labs supported by the CFAR to create a single interactive community focused on understanding the unique biology of each coinfection.
Stuart M. Levitz, MD has over 25 years' experience studying fungal infections associated with HIV, particularly cryptococcosis. His leadership in the field is evidenced by his selection as Chair of the Vaccines against Microbial Diseases NIH Study Section, Co-Chair of a Gordon Conference, and membership in prestigious societies including the Association of American Physicians. Dr. Levitz continues to see patients with HIV as part of his Infectious Disease practice.
Christopher Sassetti, PhD focuses on tuberculosis pathogenesis in his research. His publications span many facets of this disease, including bacterial genetics, mechanisms of drug action and resistance, and immunity. This body of work resulted in his appointment to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Sassetti has contributed to the HIV/AIDS body of knowledge as a member of the national CFAR Working Group on TB/HIV Coinfection, which has advised CFAR directors on strategies for accelerating research on coinfection.