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African Americans: Answers About HIV Vaccine Research

June 2006

How is HIV/AIDS affecting African-American communities?

What Is a Vaccine?
A vaccine "teaches" the immune system to recognize and defend against a virus (such as HIV), bacteria or other disease-causing agent.
The AIDS crisis is not over and HIV/AIDS continues to disproportionately affect minority communities, including African Americans. While African Americans represent 13% of the United States population, they account for approximately 46% of new HIV infections and 50% of reported AIDS cases. While Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and injection drug users continue to be at a higher risk for HIV, the heterosexual transmission of HIV is increasingly becoming a major source of infection in African Americans and other minority communities and is the primary cause of HIV infection among women in the United States. African-American women accounted for 60% of all new HIV cases among women. In 2001, HIV was the second leading cause of death in African Americans between the ages of 25 and 44. More than 195,000 African Americans have died with AIDS. Underlying conditions such as higher rates of poverty and limited access to, or use of, health care may account for the high number of AIDS-related deaths.

HIV/AIDS Disproportionately Affects African Americans

Why do we need a preventive HIV vaccine?

What is happening in preventive HIV vaccine research?

How safe are the vaccines being tested in people?

What Can African Americans Do?

  • Let others know you support HIV vaccine research.

  • Educate others about the need for an HIV vaccine and the importance of trial participation by people of all races/ethnicities, genders and socioeconomic backgrounds.

  • Support vaccine volunteers and/or volunteer yourself.

  • Get involved by joining a Community Advisory Board.

How can I be sure the research is being done right?

There Is No Preventive HIV Vaccine Available

More vaccines are being tested than ever before. HIV vaccines do not contain any actual HIV, and therefore, cannot cause HIV infection.

Who is doing the research?

Where can I learn more?

For more information on preventive HIV vaccine research, go to:, or call 1-800-448-0440 (Bilingual English/Spanish).

This article was provided by U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

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