Executive Director Mark Dybul of the Global Fund to Fight Aids addresses the audience
On Saturday May 17, 2014, the 22nd annual AmsterdamDiner took place. This year, an impressive 509,000 euro was raised for the fight against HIV/AIDS. Our research partner AIGHD is the main beneficiary: funds will go towards HIV/AIDS research as part of the H-Team project, which aims to target and treat people with acute HIV infections at an early stage. Congratulations on this great result!
AIGHD: potential medical breakthrough
This year’s theme, ‘What a Difference a Day Makes’, is particularly relevant when it comes to fighting HIV/AIDS: 24 little hours, after all, can mean the difference between a lifetime of treatment and just a few years of treatment. The sooner you detect an acute HIV infection, the more treatable it is (and the smaller the chance that it will be transmitted to others).
New research taking place under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Joep Lange at AIGHD suggests the possibility of a potential breakthrough in the treatment of people with HIV. New insights suggest that immediate treatment of a newly contracted HIV infection can be so effective that it may be possible to effect a ‘functional cure’. This would mean that after some time, treatment can cease and the virus will no longer be detectable in the patients blood. The virus, which would still be present in certain parts of the body, would be so weakened that disease progression would come to a halt and no longer be transmissible.
In the Netherlands alone, 1,100 people per year contract HIV. Of the estimated 25,000 people with HIV, 30% remains unaware of their condition. This method represents hope for a cure, but requires extensive research, development and testing. The Aids Fonds recognizes this potential and selected AIGHD as main beneficiary of the AmsterdamDiner to support Joep Lange’s research. Aids Fonds Director Ton Coenen: “The number of new HIV infections among men having sex with men and among migrants hasn’t declined in years. We want to break this boundary. Early testing and treatment of HIV very soon after the moment of infection can make a huge difference. This research project is a unique opportunity for the Netherlands and the rest of the world.”
The AmsterdamDiner benefit gala, organized by the Dutch AmsterdamDiner Foundation and the Dutch Aids Fonds, is one of the largest fundraising events in the Netherlands. About 1030 representatives from Dutch business society, politicians, celebrities and other guests attended. Notable guests included Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau, Executive Director Mark Dybul of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen and Deputy Executive Director Luiz Loures of UNAIDS.
Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.