Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS was launched in 2006. It is one of a successful series of review journals whose unique format is designed to provide a systematic and critical assessment of the literature as presented in the many primary journals. The fields of HIV and AIDS are divided into nine sections that are reviewed once a year. Each section is assigned a Section Editor, a leading authority in the area, who identifies the most important topics at that time. Here we are pleased to introduce the Section Editors for this issue.
David H. Brown Ripin
Dr David H. Brown Ripin is the Executive Vice President of Access Programs and Chief Science Officer at the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), USA, where he oversees CHAI's work on increasing access to medicines and diagnostics for HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis through the use of sustainable market interventions. CHAI's Access Programs have successfully implemented agreements with pharmaceutical companies to lower the price of key drugs and diagnostics for HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis by up to 80%, among other achievements.
Dr Ripin joined CHAI in 2007. Prior to assuming his current role, he led CHAI's Pharmaceutical Sciences Team, which conducts research and development work. These efforts focus on reducing the cost of key drugs through recommending formulation, manufacturing process, and sourcing improvements, as well as conducting the transfer of these processes to manufacturing partners.
Dr Ripin is actively involved in setting international priorities for HIV drug optimization work, including organizing the Conference on Antiretroviral Drug Optimization in 2009. Before joining CHAI, he worked at Pfizer, Inc. for 10 years as part of the research and development group, focusing on the commercialization and manufacture of drug candidates.
Dr Ripin received a BS in Chemistry and Asian Studies from the Washington University in St. Louis, USA, and obtained his PhD in Chemistry at Harvard University, USA.
Charles W. Flexner
Charles W. Flexner, MD, has dedicated his career to optimizing the treatment of HIV infection. Since completing fellowship training in clinical pharmacology and infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins, USA, in 1989, he has published extensively on the basic and clinical pharmacology of approved and investigational antiretroviral drugs. His scientific contributions include work on the important roles of pharmacokinetic enhancement with ritonavir, medication adherence, and dosing frequency in the long-term management of HIV/AIDS. He led clinical development teams for seven HIV-related new molecular entities, as well as randomized, prospective trials of once-daily versus twice-daily combination antiretroviral regimens. He has also published extensively on anti-infective drug transport and metabolism, and metabolic drug interactions.
Dr Flexner has been a leader in efforts to guide international HIV treatment and health policy. He was organizer and co-Chair, with David Ripin, of both the First and Second Conferences on Antiretroviral Drug Optimization (CADO), sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative. He was Organizer and Co-Chair of World Health Organization (WHO) Conferences on HIV Treatment Optimization in 2011 (with Craig McClure) and 2012 (with Stefano Vella). Dr Flexner currently serves on the WHO Guidelines Panel for Treatment of HIV Infection in Adults. He is the founding Co-Chair, with Scott Letendre, of the annual International Workshop on HIV and Aging.
Dr Flexner is currently Professor of Medicine in the Divisions of Clinical Pharmacology and Infectious Diseases, and Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is also Professor of International Health in the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr Flexner is Deputy Director of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Johns Hopkins, and Associate Director of the Graduate Training Programs in Clinical Investigation of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health. Since 2000, Dr Flexner has directed the Johns Hopkins University AIDS Clinical Trials Unit; he is Past Chair of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) Pharmacology Committee and Translational Research and Drug Development Committee. Dr Flexner served as President of the American Federation for Medical Research (AFMR) from 1999 to 2000, and was President of the AFMR Foundation from 2001 to 2002. He is a member of the editorial board of 11 scientific journals. He currently serves as a consultant to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and advised the United States House of Representatives on reform of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Ben Plumley is Chief Executive Officer of Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation. In this position, he leads an HIV-focused, non-profit consulting organization, overseeing a diverse set of HIV prevention and treatment programs which target vulnerable populations worldwide, including women, youth, injection drug users, commercial sex workers, prison populations and men who have sex with men.
Ben is a health and development strategist and advocate, dedicated to the global fight against AIDS. Beginning in the late 1980 s he worked with London's HIV positive community – particularly HIV positive refugees from Eastern Africa. His career has subsequently spanned the private sector, United Nations, and non-governmental organizations. Most recently he was Vice President for Global Access and Partnerships with Johnson & Johnson, forging innovative public private collaborations to develop and deliver AIDS-related technological breakthroughs for developing countries – including an innovative public-private sector collaboration with the TB Alliance to co-develop the first new TB treatment in forty years.
Ben previously served as the Director of the UNAIDS Executive Office from 2003 to 2006. In this role he supported the Executive Director, Dr Peter Piot, managing high-level political and management issues, including the formation of UNAIDS’ policies on HIV Prevention and HIV services for injecting drug users.
In 2001 he founded the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS with Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, growing the organization's membership from 17 to 170 companies. As well as building a new NGO from scratch, Ben defined and helped companies implement the principles of business action against AIDS: workplace-based prevention and treatment programs, outreach and support to local communities, and policy, advocacy support to national AIDS strategies.
In the 1990 s, Ben worked for Glaxo Wellcome and the UK Government's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority.
Ben was born in the UK and educated at Cambridge University. He was deeply involved in the UK's emerging response to AIDS, working with a number of London-based charities, including as a buddy volunteer for the Terence Higgins Trust.