Saturday, May 19, 2007

Yesterday was HIV Vaccine Awareness Day

Yesterday marked the 10th annual HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, an opportunity to reflect upon the more than two decades of progress worldwide in the search for a safe and effective HIV vaccine.

The urgency of finding a safe and effective HIV vaccine is underscored by sobering statistics, familiar to those who regularly read this blog: Forty million people are currently living with HIV infection. Every day, another 11,000 individuals become infected with HIV, most of whom live in resource-poor countries. Last year alone, it is estimated that more than 40,000 individuals in the United States were infected with HIV.

In the coming years, several major trials testing different vaccine candidates and approaches will be completed. Results of two ongoing efficacy trials — a large-scale 16,000-person trial in Thailand and a smaller 3,000-person trial in North America, South America, the Caribbean and Australia — are expected in the next two years. Results of another 3,000-person trial in South Africa will follow. Although none of these trials is expected to lead immediately to a licensed vaccine, each study adds to the body of knowledge that helps shape future vaccine efforts.

(Adapted from the HIV Vaccine Awareness Day statement from the National Institutes of Health )


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