BY Advocate.com Editors
May 17 2003 12:00 AM ET
Study: Many Americans think HIV vaccine already exists
A new study by the federal National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows that many Americans think a preventive vaccine for HIV already exists and is being kept secret. NIAID surveys showed that 48% of African-American and 28% of Latino respondents believe that such a vaccine has been developed and is being kept from the public. Overall, about 20% of the 3,500 adults surveyed reported believing that a secret vaccine exists. Other widely reported misconceptions include a fear that HIV vaccines can cause HIV infection in clinical trial volunteers.
To help debunk such beliefs, NIAID is sponsoring the sixth annual HIV Vaccine Awareness Day on May 18. The goal of the event is to provide accurate information about HIV/AIDS and HIV vaccine research to the public. "HIV vaccine research is our best hope, along with other prevention and treatment efforts, to slow the spread of HIV," said NIAID director Anthony Fauci. "NIAID is committed to educating the public to help correct misconceptions and advance public understanding of ongoing and future HIV vaccine research."