Roy (“Trip”) M. Gulick, MD, MPH, is the Rochelle Belfer Professor in Medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Weill Cornell Medicine, and attending physician at the New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. He serves as the co-chair of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Panel on Clinical Practices for Treatment of HIV Infection and chairman of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of AIDS Research Advisory Committee (OARAC). In the HPTN, he serves as protocol chairman of HPTN 069, a Phase 2 study of maraviroc-containing regimens for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
1. How did you first get involved with the HPTN?
I have spent most of my career designing and conducting studies of HIV treatment. When the first prep studies with TDF/FTC were reported, I became interested in strategies using other antiretroviral drugs for PrEP. I had some initial discussions with Ken Mayer and we began to explore studying maraviroc-containing regimens for PrEP – these ultimately became HPTN 069 (with co-sponsorship from the ACTG as A5305).
2. What do you find most challenging about the work you do in support of the HPTN?
The HPTN network provides all the key elements for designing and conducting a successful HIV prevention study – from the fields of HIV science, clinical trials design, laboratory support, behavioral science, statistics, data management, logistics, and through the all-important efforts of the sites, it is a pleasure to be part of this successful group. Having said that, perhaps the biggest challenge is the sheer number of moving parts and how to make sure everyone is working together towards the common goal of successful study completion and reporting (and ultimately advancing the field!).
3. What do you think will change about HIV prevention over the next five years?
I think we will see increasing numbers of options for HIV prevention (including using combinations of strategies) – clearly, we have learned well that "one size does not fit all".
4. What do you wish other people knew about your work?
The HPTN 069 study demonstrated that maraviroc-containing regimens were comparably safe and well-tolerated to the standard PrEP regimen of TDF/FTC in an at-risk population with cohorts of U.S. men who have sex with men (MSM) and women. However, the study wasn't powered to demonstrate efficacy – that would require a fully powered phase 3 study. It would be interesting to know if there is demand to test another oral daily pill option for HIV prevention.
5. What might someone be surprised to know about you?
My high school senior prom was held in the blue room of the DC Omni Shoreham Hotel (where this year's HPTN network meeting was held!). I had shoulder-length wavy black hair and platform shoes and my date was named Biffy Tippens. I visited the blue room during the recent HPTN meeting and was surprised to find out that it is now brown! I also found out that Mary Beth McCauley's senior prom also was held in the blue room – clearly we established an important HPTN tradition.
What do you do when you aren't working?
I like to run and hike and I'm a big theatre fan. I also play piano, sing, and scuba dive whenever I get the chance.