Greetings and Happy New Year, AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) community and network colleagues!
We, the ACTG Community Co-Chairs, are writing this message to say “THANK YOU” for the hard work, dedication, and commitment each of you demonstrated in 2020. As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a significant public health risk that has disrupted many aspects of daily life worldwide. Your safety is still our greatest concern. We want you and your families to continue to take all the appropriate steps and actions needed to ensure your wellbeing.
It is the beginning of 2021 and we have another opportunity to reflect not only on our achievements, progress, and possibilities, but also on the lessons that we have learned from the HIV epidemic over the last four decades. While we continue to make strides towards ending the HIV epidemic, COVID-19 is imminent and threatens the progress we have made in HIV and health, globally. Like HIV, COVID-19 has highlighted the inequities in many communities, both locally and globally, with racial, gender, and socioeconomic disparities at the forefront of these challenges. Further, the public response to news around HIV and COVID-19 have been similar, as has been the politicization, and stigma. The fear continues to rip through many communities. Nevertheless, we can persevere with both education and prevention, which are key strategies for combatting misinformation, ignorance, and uncertainty.
The ways in which medical, legislative, and public institutions have united in their efforts to address COVID-19 is the kind of approach and commitment that must become the norm for ending the HIV epidemic.
The ACTG is at the forefront of COVID-19 clinical trials with the implementation of the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines clinical trial (ACTIV-2, “Rise Above COVID”). ACTIV-2 is studying multiple therapeutic options for those who test positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms but are not hospitalized.
One of the clearest lessons the HIV epidemic has taught us within the ACTG is the power of community. The strength in our communities, inspired by a shared sense of responsibility to each other, and collaboration between governments, community organizations, and citizens, has contributed in great part to our successes in HIV. The ACTG network has been a leader in this endeavor.
For 2021, we ask for the following:
We are starting a brand new year. As members of the ACTG, we must remember our clinical trials achievements and how we are mitigating the tide of HIV in order to continue to lead the fight to end both the HIV and COVID-19 pandemics through clinical trials research.
- Recommit yourselves to the ACTG, its mission and the committees you joined
- Renew your dedication to HIV clinical trials research
- Recharge your physical and mental strength. We are all experiencing COVID fatigue.
In conclusion, we want to express our gratitude to each of you. From leadership to community members to investigators and everyone else, you are the world’s foremost group of caring individuals. You are the best of what humanity has to offer and we encourage you to continue to bring your unique talents to the ACTG table in 2021.
Stay Safe and Healthy!
Orbit and Estere