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GeoVax Interview

30 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brown

Question 1 of 30
What made you choose to participate in HIV research?
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How to Answer
The interviewer knows there are many areas of research. This question is an opportunity for him to get to know you. For instance, if you know someone who has HIV and want to help find the cure, share that. There is no right or wrong answer to this question.

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Question 2 of 30
Do you have an understanding of 'HIV reservoir'?
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How to Answer
When it was first shown that triple combinations of antiretroviral (ART) drugs could suppress HIV replication, there were hopes that long-term ART would eventually lead to the clearance of all HIV-infected cells from the body. However, scientists discovered that HIV persists in an inactive, latent form in certain immune system cells. They discovered that some of these cells can become active when ART is interrupted. The latent HIV that persists despite ART is described as the HIV reservoir, and it is considered the major barrier to achieving a cure. Researchers seeking to find a cure for HIV are vigorously trying to discover the cause of these latent cells becoming active after such a long time of inactivity. Share any knowledge you have regarding HIV reservoir.

Question 3 of 30
What do you feel is one of the most challenging obstacles to HIV research?
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How to Answer
There are many challenges involved with HIV research. The interviewer is asking your opinion. So, don't feel like you have to give an elaborate, 'medically correct' answer. What are your thoughts?

"I think one of the most challenging things with regard to HIV research is that, in order to determine that treatment is effective, patients must be followed for long periods of time. It is challenging because once patients begin to feel better, they don't want to have to see physicians all the time."
Question 4 of 30
While the term "functional cure" has been widely used, do you know why many researchers now prefer to say that patients are in remission rather than experiencing a functional cure?
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How to Answer
There are rare examples of individuals who have been able to stop ART and maintain undetectable or low levels of HIV viral load for extended periods of time. A term that has been applied to these cases is 'functional cure', intended to mean that HIV is still present in the body but not causing harm. However, in some of these cases HIV viral load has rebounded to high levels after a long period of being undetectable. Share your understanding of why researchers prefer to say that these patients are in remission rather than cured.

Question 5 of 30
If you could choose a research area other than HIV research, what would your next preference be?
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How to Answer
Sharing your interests with the interviewer will give him a chance to offer you opportunities in a different area if an immediate position in HIV research is not available. Also, having broader interests implies to the interviewer that you want to learn. Share your interests and why they are appealing to you.

Question 6 of 30
Do you have any experience studying the effects of ART on the reduction or prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV?
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How to Answer
One study has evaluated whether early ART can lead to remissions or cures in newborns who acquired HIV because their mothers did not receive ART to prevent mother-to-child transmission (MTCT), or because MTCT was inadequate. Share your thoughts or experience on this subject.

Questions 7 through 30
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