Solving the Mystery of JAIDS

Volberding, Paul A. MD

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: 1 August 2013 - Volume 63 - Issue 4 - p 417
doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e31829d6190

UCSF AIDS Research Institute, UCSF Global Health Sciences and UCSF-GIVI Center for AIDS Research. E-mail:

The author has no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

JAIDS, one of the first scientific journals dedicated to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, continues to publish important articles addressing the broad spectrum of research required to understand and control this still quite new and challenging disease. JAIDS employs 3 sections in basic, clinical, and population sciences, each with a co-editor-in-chief to ensure a balance in research coverage and content significance. Recently JAIDS added a focus in implementation sciences and operations research in a unique online format well matched to the increasing importance of open Internet journal access, particularly in resource-limited settings. Although all of us leading our journal refer to it as JAIDS, its actual name is a hint to our mystery and to an important new chapter in the quarter century history of our labor.

JAIDS is formally the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Why the plural? Whatever the original explanation, we may have a better one. Many HIV-infected persons are simultaneously affected by infections or suffer from comorbid diseases. JAIDS has always sought to publish manuscripts that fully reflect that disease burden. Two crucially significant HIV co-infections include hepatitis C and B viruses (HCV and HBV). Each of these chronic viral infections is now treatable with agents overlapping or related to those drugs used to treat HIV itself. Drugs including tenofovir, lamivudine, and emtricitabine are important HBV-active agents and the development of HCV drugs has followed a pathway well established in creating effective antiretrovirals. At the same time, each virus is unique, infecting many persons not just those also affected by HIV. Although JAIDS continues to seek submissions of research findings related to co-infection, the editors also recognize the importance of investigations of mono-infection by HCV, HBV, and chronic viruses. These infections we now propose represent the multiple syndromes always anticipated in the name of our Journal, and JAIDS explicitly invites research manuscripts from basic, clinical, and population investigations of HCV, HBV, and other conditions also important to the HIV-affected community.

HIV, HBV, and especially HCV research are highly complementary and fit well with the novel JAIDS organizational structure. In each infection, work in the basic, clinical, and population sciences informs the others and even the new JAIDS focus on implementation sciences and operational research should prove relevant. In the basic sciences, HCV drug development has been breathtaking and, clearly building on HIV-gained experience, clinical trials have rapidly shown extremely high cure rates, even with short courses of all oral direct-acting agents in distinction from older interferon-based approaches. Research is already starting on population-based HCV screening, and the concept of treatment as prevention may be even more quickly applied than in HIV infection. Implementation sciences, research aimed at finding efficient ways to treat broad populations, will be critically important in HCV therapy. As each cure may well cost tens of thousands of dollars, how can this be financed at a population level? Should we first treat only those with advanced disease to spread to cost over time or should we treat the entire infected communities to prevent re-infection and avoid the cost of retreatment? These and more are vitally significant research questions, and JAIDS promises a welcoming home for their dissemination.

JAIDS reflects the continuing challenge we accept in ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic and our commitment to apply the knowledge we have gained in confronting epidemics even more newly recognized. We encourage manuscript submissions to each of the 3 core JAIDS sections and ones in the implementation sciences and operations research field. We will continue to provide rapid expert reviews of submitted manuscripts and timely publication of important new findings in research in HCV, HBV, and other chronic viral infections.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins