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Canadian AIDS Society, IAVI Partner to Advocate for AIDS Vaccines

April 04, 2001

OTTAWA, 4 April 2001—The Canadian AIDS Society (CAS) announces it has joined forces with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) to build support to speed the development of an AIDS vaccine, with a focus on vaccines for poor countries hardest hit by AIDS.

A key element of this partnership is joint planning and advocacy to assure global access to a vaccine once available. CAS, as the national voice for more than 120 community-based AIDS service organization across Canada, will work with IAVI’s Access Project, which links organizations worldwide working to secure adequate financing and distribution of an AIDS vaccine.

CAS and IAVI announce their partnership just as the first AIDS vaccine designed specifically for Africa enters human trials. This vaccine is the product of a cross-national research team funded and managed by IAVI and led by researchers at Oxford University and the University of Nairobi. Phase I safety trials are underway in both the UK and Kenya, with initial results expected later this year.

“After years of being only an afterthought, AIDS vaccines are on the global agenda due in no small part to the scientific and policy initiatives of IAVI,” said Sharon Baxter, executive director of the Canadian AIDS Society. “We look forward to working with IAVI to establish broad coalitions to accelerate this progress.”

CAS joins IAVI’s growing global network of partners, which includes organizations in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, France, South Africa and the United States. CAS and IAVI will collaborate to increase Canadian political and public commitment for AIDS vaccines, at the same time enlisting the support of the Canadian scientific community and community-based AIDS service organizations.

“An AIDS vaccine is our best hope for ending the global pandemic. It is clear that both developing and delivering one will require a global effort,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, president and CEO of IAVI. He adds, “We are extremely pleased to be working with the Canadian AIDS Society, which time and again has proven itself an able and committed advocate for AIDS research, prevention and treatment.”

The CAS-IAVI collaboration steps up Canada’s contribution to the global search for an AIDS vaccine. In June 2000, the Canadian government pledged US$5 million dollars to IAVI through a grant from the Canadian International Development Agency.

The Canadian AIDS Society (www.cdnaids.ca) is a coalition of community-based AIDS organizations across Canada. CAS advocates on behalf of people and communities affected by HIV/AIDS; facilitates the development of programs, services and resources for member groups; and provides a national framework for community-based participation in Canada’s response to AIDS.

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, a UNAIDS collaborating centre, focuses its work on four areas: creating global demand for AIDS vaccines, accelerating scientific progress, encouraging industrial involvement in AIDS vaccine development and working to assure global access. IAVI draws most of its funding from governments, foundations and multilateral institutions. Its major donors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller, Starr and Sloan Foundations; the World Bank; and the governments of the United Kingdom, Netherlands, U.S., Ireland and Canada.