Artist inspired by HIV/AIDS therapies

Miracle of Hope I, Dave Putnam

The promise of a cure for HIV/AIDS has inspired activists, researchers and now artists. The image shown here, by Woodside, CA artist Dave Putnam, was donated to Stanford’s Positive Care Clinic in Atherton, CA. It’s one of three 36″ by 48″ images making up a new triptych depicting Putnam’s interpretation of the body’s triumph over HIV.

Stanford’s Scope blog describes the images:

The acrylics, which hang in the hallway of the clinic, show a cell that is permeated by multiple black dots. These represent the invasion of the HIV protease enzyme, which is essential to survival of the virus. Blue dots on the canvas are used to capture the image of the fighters — the protease inhibitors that stop cell growth. Gradually, the blue dots spread and overtake the nasty enzyme. In the last painting, a bright yellow canvas shines through, as the enzyme is destroyed (though remnants of the virus remain, as current therapies never completely eradicate it).

If the two CIRM-funded HIV disease teams at UCLA and City of Hope are successful, the disease would most resemble the final, less dramatic image. Both teams are trying to replace the person’s HIV-infected bloodstream with a new blood system that is resistant to the virus. This link provides more information about stem cell approaches to treating HIV/AIDS.