RFTCA volunteers from HAVAS Health Plus lighting the Torch to Cure AIDS.  From left to right are Owen O’Connor, Haley McLaughlin & Genaldri Tjahjadi. Photo credit: Ismael Ramirez.

By Kambiz Shekdar, Ph.D., and Drew Davis

Thank you to all those who joined Research Foundation to Cure AIDS (RFTCA) at the Free From AIDS Gala on World AIDS Day 2019. We put forward an unforgettable night for supporters of a cure and we’d be honored if you, too, would team up with us. If you find yourself wondering about our mission, this article should provide some clear points about what makes RFTCA a new and necessary addition to ongoing efforts to cure AIDS and answer any questions you may have about our plan to change the state of HIV/AIDS treatment.

Who are we?

RFTCA is the first charitable 501(c)3 biotechnology venture to obtain a license to use cellular technology (invented by president and founder Dr. Kambiz Shekdar) to research, develop and commercialize a global cure for AIDS. Many people living with HIV/AIDS may have heard that two patients have been cured of AIDS, but it is not yet widely appreciated that a scalable, global cure is scientifically plausible. We’re here to show the world that belief in a cure is no far-flung dream. It’s the next and final chapter in the story of HIV/AIDS.

What do we stand for?

We stand up against those who claim disease prevention and lifelong symptom management are enough. We stand for the diverse populations that have been affected most by HIV/AIDS and believe that everyone is entitled to live in a world without this disease, and to be themselves in whatever way they see fit without conceding to the symptoms or societal stigma of AIDS.

What did we do in 2019?

In 2019, RFTCA lit the torch to cure AIDS. In September RFTCA became the first charitable 501(c)3 biotechnology venture that obtained a license to use cellular technology to research, develop and commercialize a global cure for AIDS. In October RFTCA obtained the first-ever detailed position statements on a cure from leading presidential candidates, particularly from Bernie Sanders. In December, on World AIDS Day, RFTCA launched the grassroots Free From AIDS campaign to raise awareness and support for developing a global cure. We ended the year by announcing plans to create an AIDS cure incubator at the former site of the AIDS ward of St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City.

What will we do in 2020? 

In 2020, we will make curing AIDS a global priority. Our goal is to capture the public’s imagination about a cure and to open our AIDS cure incubator. On World AIDS Day 2020 we will join existing candlelit vigils around the world for the first relay run around the globe to unite all those who believe in a cure. Individuals from Park Avenue to the Sudan and all points in between will carry the torch to cure AIDS worldwide.

How can we change the world?

Together. We know that by galvanizing and unifying those who have been touched by the disease, and by creating a diverse alliance of all those who believe in an AIDS-free future, we can bring a cure within reach. We welcome support of any kind for our mission to make the dream of a world without AIDS a reality. Please join us by donating any amount at or by signing up for our newsletter at

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for joining our cause. Let’s have an amazing year and do all we can to make history—because we know that will be enough.

Kambiz Shekdar, Ph.D. is a biologist, a biotech inventor, a gay man, and the president of Research Foundation to Cure AIDS. Drew Davis is a medical writer and RFTCA volunteer. Visit to help accelerate the search for a cure for AIDS. Contact to inquire about joining our founders’ circle.

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