From the Executive Director
This installment of Body Positive Magazine strikes home for me even more than usual this month, and revolves around a topic that has become particularly near and dear to my heart over the past several months. While the current issue is dedicated to understanding the development, production and impact of HIV vaccine research, one of BP's own has taken a huge step by volunteering for an HIV vaccine clinical trial that is currently taking place at Project Achieve.
Researchers appear to be inching ever closer to the elusive goal of developing an effective vaccine to fight HIV. Drug companies regularly roll out new HIV/AIDS drugs, individually and in new combinations, to help those of us who are HIV-positive live better lives. For many of us, these new meds are helpful, while for others they mean (and do) absolutely nothing. What we need, and what millions of people around the world need, is a clinically effective vaccine to help keep this horrible epidemic from spreading even further than it already has.
What we also need are people like BP's own Gloria Abitol, Director of Outreach and Education. Gloria has volunteered to take part in an HIV vaccine study that looks at the effectiveness of a new HIV vaccine under development. This means that Gloria has been injected with a serum composed of manmade virus to see whether her body will develop an immunity to HIV -- effectively preventing her from becoming HIV positive if she's ever exposed down the road.
Gloria has had to endure several hours worth of screening questions and interviews just to see if she was a suitable candidate for this vaccine trial, only to then be subjected to a battery of blood tests, physical exams and injections. She did this under her own steam, with no urging from BP. In fact, I wasn't even aware that she planned to do it until she'd already signed up -- but I'm proud of her for doing so. Now we all just wait, and hope, to see if it works.
This article was provided by Body Positive. It is a part of the publication Body Positive.