4 Questions with Jared Baeten: Innovating, Collaborating and Inspiring at AIDS 2022
Stories@Gilead - August 09, 2022
Collaboration and innovation, guided by a goal to help achieve greater health equity, have been central principles of the global response to the HIV epidemic. The 24th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2022) – the first global HIV meeting held in person since the COVID-19 pandemic – showcased the importance of bringing together a broad range of scientists, clinicians, policymakers, advocates and other stakeholders to advance efforts to overcome one of the world's most formidable public health challenges.
“Working collaboratively is integral to the HIV research and development program at Gilead,” says Jared Baeten, Gilead’s Vice President of HIV Clinical Development. “It was incredibly inspiring to engage again in person with colleagues, experts and friends from around the world. That inspiration drives our next generation of treatment, prevention and cure strategy innovations.”
Following AIDS 2022, we connected with Jared to discuss the top highlights from the conference, and ways the company is looking to help transform care and improve outcomes for people affected by HIV.
Q: What was the atmosphere in Montreal for AIDS 2022?
It was so inspiring to reconnect and reengage in person. AIDS 2022 was the perfect meeting to bring the global HIV community back together after two years of online conferences – there’s such a wide range of people committed to ending the global epidemic who attend. There were cutting-edge discussions about the latest advancements and discoveries in HIV science, and powerful calls on the world to combat stigma, discrimination and apathy. I was energized by the new data presented and galvanized by the many conversations that took place beyond the science, particularly on the importance of advancing new treatment and prevention strategies, and advocating for policies that fight societal barriers to ensure people receive the care they need.
Two years into the global COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear that our progress toward ending HIV is fragile and much work remains to be done. I observed a common thread throughout my conversations with attendees: an unequivocal and reenergized commitment to discovering new breakthroughs and acknowledgement that none of us, individuals or institutions, can successfully do this work alone.
At Gilead, our commitment to advancing transformational innovation extends beyond science. It’s foundational to our approach to collaboration and partnerships, which are aimed at addressing barriers to HIV awareness and education, screening, and linkage to and retention in care and prevention.
Q: What data from its HIV research programs did Gilead share at AIDS 2022 this year, and what do these advancements mean for people affected by HIV?
The data presented at AIDS 2022 underscore our commitment to person-centric research. We were excited to present new findings from our HIV treatment research and development program, including long-term outcomes in people using antiretroviral therapy from all around the world. Additionally, we presented the latest findings from our HIV prevention research evaluating innovative testing methods and data from real-world utilization. We also shared new updates from our HIV cure research program, furthering the collective scientific knowledge on potential pathways to achieve a functional cure or long-term viral remission in the absence of antiretroviral therapy for people with HIV.
It was an honor for our team to have Devi SenGupta, Gilead’s HIV Cure Lead, Executive Director, Virology Therapeutic Area, pictured to the right of me in the above photo, participate in a panel session led by the International AIDS Society. The session highlighted our approach to HIV cure research, which is to be inclusive, representative, meaningful and grounded in the engagement of communities disproportionately affected by HIV. Devi highlighted how our program is informed by a standing cure Community Advisory Board, established early in the development process and guiding us all the way through as we move toward testing proof of concept for cure.
I love the passionate energy of our team here at Gilead and so it was great to see that recognized through the conference program. For instance, Vamshi Jogiraju, Clinical Pharmacologist at Gilead, pictured to the left of me in the above photo, is one of the team members evaluating how to use long-acting HIV treatment with convenient dosing schedules for people to use. Vamshi received an IAS/ANRS Lange/van Tongeren Prize for Young Investigators during the conference. We were thrilled and honored to see this important work acknowledged on the world stage.
Q: Gilead continues to forge industry-leading collaborations and partnerships that support people and communities impacted by HIV worldwide. What are some ways the company is helping to dismantle barriers to HIV care?
At AIDS 2022, we convened and contributed to multiple discussions about the barriers that can influence engagement in HIV care on individual, community and systemic levels. Sessions supported by Gilead illustrated the company’s ongoing efforts to change the future of the epidemic through the development and delivery of practical solutions with sustainable impacts.
We also work with an array of organizations at all stages of research, development and care delivery, who join us in redefining what’s possible, harnessing the transformative power of science and partnership. Our recently launched Together campaign shines a light on some of these key collaborations around the world, and the impact our partners are having every day.
Q: What are some of your biggest takeaways from AIDS 2022 and how can they help shape Gilead’s efforts to end the HIV epidemic for everyone, everywhere?
The biggest takeaways were innovation, partnership and inspiration. We’re inspired by the shared urgency of global partners to continue working together toward ending the inequalities that drive the HIV epidemic. We must continue to prioritize person-centered HIV research and development. We will keep applying our long-standing expertise in virology and continue to do inclusive studies in order to bring forward person-centered innovation to help fill urgent global needs. We must also partner and collaborate to ensure that our work is diverse, inclusive and grounded in the voices of communities most affected by HIV. It’s only through genuine partnership and transformative collaboration that together, we can end the HIV epidemic for everyone, everywhere.