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NCI HIV and AIDS Research

The Office of HIV and AIDS Malignancy (OHAM) facilitates HIV and AIDS malignancy research by coordinating and overseeing research programs throughout the NCI, as well as directly initiating and managing programs.

One of the harbingers of the AIDS epidemic was a cluster of cases of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) in 1981, a hitherto rare tumor in the United States. Since then, it has become apparent that patients with HIV/AIDS are at increased risk of developing a number of cancers, several of which are considered “AIDS-defining” when they occur in an individual with HIV infection.

With the development of highly active combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), the incidence of some of these classic AIDS-defining tumors such as KS, has decreased. However, as patients are living longer with HIV in regions where cART is available, cancer is emerging as the leading cause of death in this population.

NCI's major programs and initiatives in research, training, international studies, and clinical trials are driving important advances towards more effective prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of HIV/AIDS and HIV-associated malignancies within the United States and abroad.

OHAM Research Activities

Programs managed by OHAM extend across the spectrum of research, training, international studies, and clinical trials to address the clinically, socially, and demographically diverse population of HIV/AIDS patients. In addition, OHAM contributes to and has shared oversight for a number of efforts across the NIH and beyond.
Learn more about OHAM Research Activities

NCI HIV/AIDS Research Coordinated by OHAM

The NCI conducts and supports research in HIV/AIDS and HIV malignancy throughout many of its Divisions, Offices, and Centers. As part of its role in overseeing research efforts in this field, some research activities are directly supported by OHAM.
Learn more about NCI research activities coordinated by OHAM

Key Accomplishments of NCI Scientists in HIV/AIDS Research

From the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, NCI scientists have played a major role in HIV/AIDS and AIDS malignancy research. Scientists within the NCI and supported by the NCI have made a number of key discoveries, including:

  • Co-discovering HIV and proving that this virus was the cause of AIDS
  • Establishing large scale culture methods for HIV and developing the first blood test
  • Identifying anti-HIV activity and conducting the firstclinical trials of the first AIDS drugs—zidovudine (AZT), didanosine (ddI), and zalcitabine (ddC)
  • Discovering Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also called human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8)—the cause of Kaposi’s sarcoma
  • Developing the first vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV), which can protect against cervical cancer (an AIDS-defining cancer) and other cancers

For more information on the HIV/AIDS research accomplishments of scientists working within the NCI and the activities of the Center of Excellence in HIV/AIDS and Cancer Virology, please download the pamphlet: "HIV/AIDS Research at the NCI: A Record of Sustained Excellence."

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