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Commentary & Opinion

HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, 2011

May 23, 2011

"HIV Vaccine Awareness Day [May 18] provides an opportunity to acknowledge the more than 35,000 individuals who have volunteered for preventive HIV vaccine trials over the past 25 years. Without their participation, the modest success that we have achieved thus far would not have been possible. ...


"Since the discovery of HIV in 1983, dozens of antiretroviral agents have been licensed and have resulted in dramatic improvements in the quality of life and life expectancy of millions of HIV-infected individuals. ... However, for every individual who gains access to these therapies globally, two to three individuals become newly infected. Treatment alone is not likely to rid the world of AIDS; the need for improved approaches to prevent new HIV infections is compelling.

"... Progress in developing new technologies that prevent HIV infection has been notable. Adult male circumcision resulted in greater than 50 percent protection against HIV acquisition among heterosexual men in several African countries. A once-a-day pill was shown to reduce new infections in men who have sex with men by 44 percent, and protection appeared even higher in those men who adhered to the daily drug regimen. Promising results have also been achieved with a vaginally applied microbicide, which protected 39 percent of women in a trial in South Africa. Again, protection was higher in those who adhered to the drug use schedule. Another exciting finding is that a vaccine provided 31 percent protection in a heterosexual population in Thailand. Interestingly, efficacy appeared to be 60 percent in the earlier stages of the trial before the vaccine-induced immune responses waned.

"Our goal now is to improve upon these latter results ... through continued basic and clinical research.

"... Only through continued support and participation of communities and individual trial volunteers will we achieve the goal of identifying a safe and effective preventive vaccine, which would be an invaluable addition to the tool box of prevention approaches."

Fauci, M.D., is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Johnston, Ph.D., is a senior scientific consultant at NIAID.

Back to other news for May 2011

Adapted from:
Bay Windows (Boston)
05.18.2011; Anthony S. Fauci; Margaret (Peggy) I. Johnston

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More News and Analysis on Vaccines for HIV Prevention

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