May 18 is World AIDS Vaccine Day, also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, and the following summarizes two opinion pieces recognizing the event.
- Michel Sidibe, Chidi Nweneka, and Margaret McGlynn, Mail & Guardian: "[A]s leaders from 193 countries gather in Geneva for next week's World Health Assembly, we would like to reinforce the urgent need to accelerate the AIDS response and call for continued efforts to ensure the development and delivery of a vaccine to end the epidemic," Sidibe, UNAIDS executive director; Nweneka, executive director of the African AIDS Vaccine Partnership; and McGlynn, president and CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, write. "The global efforts to improve access to HIV testing, treatment and prevention services are imperative and non-negotiable," they write, adding, "We know that an HIV vaccine would be the best tool for finally ending AIDS." The authors conclude, "We are still years from an AIDS vaccine, but we now know that it can and must be done" (5/18).
- Mitchell Warren, Huffington Post's "Impact" blog: Even with all the recent advancements in HIV prevention technologies, including voluntary medical male circumcision, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with antiretroviral drugs, and mother-to-child HIV prevention, an AIDS vaccine is still necessary "[b]ecause we want to end the epidemic," Warren, executive director of AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, writes. He continues, "History tells us that vaccines are among the most powerful public health tools available and that personal preferences matter at an individual and programmatic level. The world needs as many potent HIV prevention options as possible. Whenever it is developed, an effective preventive AIDS vaccine will be a critical choice for many" (5/17).