HIV is still an important issue in Canada. There is currently no cure, and the number of people infected rises each year.
For over 30 years, CANFAR has worked steadily to advance the fight against HIV and AIDS through funding the highest quality research. Since its inception, CANFAR has invested more than $21 million in HIV and AIDS research projects, and awarded more than 400 grants, across Canada.
CANFAR-funded research achievements include findings in all key sectors of HIV, including: prevention, treatment, care, and the search for a cure. Some of our advances include research that has nearly eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV, discovery of a key component of the current medication, and leading work for the prevention of new HIV infections transmitted within diverse Canadian populations.
To ensure successful research and optimal allocation of funds, CANFAR has a set of research priorities. They are the following:
1. Provide funding for top quality HIV research projects by Canadian researchers and institutions related to all aspects of HIV and AIDS.
There is currently no cure for HIV. Therefore, it is essential to work towards preventing new infections, of which there are an estimated 2,500 in Canada every year. To better understand how the virus is being spread, and to effectively educate both those spreading the virus and those contracting, research is vital. CANFAR has funded over $4.5 million towards prevention research since its inception.
Current medical advances allow individuals with HIV to be treated, which allows them to live full lives. The treatment medication continues to improve with new approaches, which enhances effectiveness, and reduces side effects. CANFAR has funded over $4.5 million in research related to HIV treatment, which includes the development of modern, and life-saving HIV treatment.
HIV is now considered a chronic disease that requires lifelong management. Therefore, it is important to understand the continuity of care from testing through treatment, focusing on patient-centered outcomes, including: health services, social services, socioeconomic, psycho-social, and mental health needs. CANFAR has funded $3 million in research related to HIV care, contributing to improving the needs of HIV patients.
While a cure is not yet in sight, research continues to bring us further in understanding the virus. This research advances us towards a potential cure and/or vaccine. A cure is essential to ending HIV and AIDS. CANFAR has invested over $8.5 million in cure research, including a promising national research collaboration that is studying new approaches to curing HIV infection.
2. Empower and train new researchers as they enter the HIV research field. The HIV research field needs new ideas, and new people to bring these ideas forward. As new doctorates enter the field, they will have CANFAR’s support in order to dedicate their full potential towards profound new HIV research.
3. Recognize and reward exceptional Canadian HIV researchers. It is important to recognize the achievements of those brilliant and exceptional individuals who advance the HIV field. CANFAR recognizes and rewards visionaries in the HIV research field in many ways.
4. Improve the understanding of HIV prevention in Canadian gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are a high risk population, and therefore prevention is key for this population. CANFAR dedicates some of their funds in each year specifically for this purpose.
5. Optimize the understanding of Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for Canadian populations, and improve delivery and access. PrEP is a revolutionary new drug regime that targets high-risk populations for prevention. Despite having a potentially tremendous impact, it is still very new, and research about it is necessary to implement it effectively. Thus, CANFAR is prioritizing research in this area.