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National HIV Prevention Issues

January 31, 2002

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently revealed its Fiscal Year 2003 Plan for HIV-Related Research. For 2003, NIH has expanded the scope of the Plan to include three new areas of emphasis: the development of microbicides, HIV prevention research, and research related to women and girls and HIV.

The goal of the plan is for NIH to be responsive to the changing face of the epidemic, emerging scientific opportunities and the needs of the affected community. The range of preventive interventions available for HIV transmission is limited and, according to the NIH, in urgent need of expansion. NIH hopes to expand through various approaches: behavioral and social interventions, biomedical approaches, and vaccines.

Areas of Emphasis for the Plan

It is critical that methods be developed that can be controlled by women to prevent becoming infected.

NIH is also continuing its research to define the nature of the disease progression, to develop therapies for HIV infection and related conditions, and to develop vaccine candidates. This will be accomplished by conducting basic research to define pathogenic mechanisms and by identifying therapeutic and vaccine strategies at the cellular and molecular level.

Minority Communities

According to the NIH, the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on minority communities has presented significant challenges to biomedical, behavioral, social, and clinical research. NIH plans to strengthen research at minority institutions and to increase the number of minority investigators.

The Office of AIDS Research (OAR) developed the 2003 Fiscal Year Plan for HIV-Related Research with broad consensus from the scientific community. The process involved contributions from scientists from academia and industry, representatives of foundations and other nongovernmental organizations, community representatives, representatives of other government agencies and the directors of NIH Institutes and their staff.

If you would like to find out more information about the 2003 Fiscal Year Plan for HIV-Related Research, contact the Office of AIDS Research at (301) 402-8655 or visit their Web site at

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