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HIV Vaccine
Awareness Day set for May 18

HIV Vaccine
Awareness Day set for May 18

Ninth annual HIV Vaccine Awareness Day salutes progress made in vaccine research.

The ninth annual HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, which highlights progress in the search for a preventative HIV vaccine and reiterates the need for ongoing vaccine research, will be held on Thursday, May 18. Organizers of the event ask vaccine research supporters to wear red AIDS awareness ribbons upside down to form a "V" shape.

"Basic research has helped us understand how HIV causes AIDS and how the immune system attempts to contain infection," says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in a press statement marking HIV Vaccine Awareness Day. "However, an effective vaccine eludes us. We must continue to accelerate efforts in both basic and clinical research to design promising new vaccine candidates and to test their potential for preventing HIV infection."

Fauci says a growing trend of cooperation and collaboration between researchers is speeding the work needed to develop an effective HIV vaccine. He cites the Global HIV/AIDS Vaccine Enterprise (a global alliance of independent research groups), the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (a consortium of universities and academic medical centers focusing on HIV research), and the Partnership for AIDS Vaccine Evaluation (a consortium of U.S. government agencies and government-funded organizations) as examples of successful collaborative efforts.

"Local communities also have joined the effort to develop and test HIV vaccines," Fauci says in the statement. "As part of NIAID's HIV Vaccine Communications Campaign, 20 community-based organizations across the U.S. are working to educate their communities about HIV vaccine research. The need for volunteers to participate directly in clinical research trials, to provide input for the research process, to educate local communities, and to bolster support for HIV vaccine research has never been greater."

For more information about HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, local awareness day events, or HIV vaccine research, go online to www3.niaid.nih.gov or call (800) HIV-0440. (The Advocate)

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