Massachusetts researchers video conference to cure AIDS

Wednesday, May 25 2011

Massachusetts General Hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School, founded HIV Online Provider Education (HOPE) in 2004 as a means to share information and research in the quest to cure AIDS. As one of the top medical research institutions in the world, Harvard Medical wished to collaborate and share information so that AIDS treatments could more quickly be discovered. HOPE regularly uses web conferencing to communicate with fellow researchers worldwide.

According to, the list of countries from which doctors and scientists regularly communicate with the HOPE program is impressive. Some of the places that have lent expertise and research to Harvard Medical since 2004 include South Africa, China, Nepal, the United Kingdom, India, and the Dominican Republic, as well as various locations throughout Europe and North America.

One of the major benefits of using video conferencing for a task like this is its simplicity. Data can easily be shared, but recent discoveries and collaborative conversations are more difficult to translate into messages. Sometimes a conversation is necessary. Speaking to, Mass General clinical research assistant Rishabh Dev Phukan said, "We needed something that wasn't very data intensive." The system is also excellent for quickly transmitting findings from Massachusetts, where a great deal of the research is done, to Africa, where so many AIDS victims reside.