Yesterday, May 18, 2011 was the fourteenth annual World AIDS Vaccine Day, marking the anniversary of when President Bill Clinton stated, "Only a truly effective, preventive HIV vaccine can limit and eventually eliminate the threat of AIDS." Thirty years ago, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report first identified the HIV/AIDS virus. Today, more than 33 million people are living with the virus with a growing rate of 7,100 people becoming affected each day, many of which are living in severe poverty. The urgency of a preventive AIDS vaccine is greater than ever as the pandemic creates lasting political instability and claims millions of lives each year.
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, a global non-profit public-private partnership dedicated to accelerating the development of HIV/AIDS vaccines, reports that over the past thirty decades, extraordinary scientific advances have been made in the fight against AIDS. The United States and Thai governments have discovered through a clinical trial in 2009 that an AIDS vaccine was possible. Action For Global Health stated that this clinical trial, "...revealed that a candidate HIV vaccine regimen had provided volunteers modest-roughly 30%- protection from HIV."
Without the help of thousands of volunteers and donors, the reality of an AIDS vaccine would not be upon us today. The dedication of these individuals to help rid the world of this vicious disease is amazing and demonstrates the power behind movements to help better the lives of millions of people. With continued support from volunteers and donors along with efforts made by the United States government, we can only hope that next year's World AIDS Vaccine Day the world will be celebrating AIDS prevention measures and approaches that significantly reduce and eventually eliminate the AIDS disease.
SOURCE: IAVI, ONE, ACTION FOR GLOBAL HEALTH, USAID