Date Published: 11 May 2011
USA National HIV Vaccine Awareness Day
It is about 30 years since the disease now know as AIDS was first reported. Readers aged from their mid-30s onwards may remember the huge publicity surrounding HIV and AIDS uring the 1980s.
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. is the director of the US-based National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), an organisation that conducts and supports research at the (American) National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIAID studies the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases and works to to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses in the future. According to Dr Fauci, the NIAID is advancing towards its goal of a vaccine to prevent HIV infection - which he is optimistic will be achieved:
" We have scientific evidence that a safe and effective HIV vaccine is possible. In 2009, a clinical trial in Thailand involving 16,000 people demonstrated for the first time that a vaccine could safely prevent HIV infection in a modest proportion of study participants. Many of the best minds in HIV vaccine science are examining blood samples and data from the Thai trial to learn how the vaccine candidate prevented HIV infections and to consider how it could be modified to be more effective." Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Clinical trials of HIV vaccines rely on the participation of 1000s of volunteers in addition to community educators, health care workers and scientists.
Each individual HIV vaccine candidate is created in the laboratory and using the expertise of specialist scientists - expertise that is only increasing as more information becomes available.
Dr Fauci has suggested that no matter how effective a preventive HIV vaccine seems to be, it will also be necessary to evaluate and administer it in combination with other biomedical and behavioral HIV prevention tools. That is, no single HIV prevention strategy is expected to control and ultimately end the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Hence public health workers will continue to advocate and implement scientifically proven HIV prevention strategies such as condom use, medically supervised adult male circumcision, harm-reduction strategies for injection drug users and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov - statement understood to be correct as of publication date.
Institutes of Health (NIH), USA.