December 01, 2008
Testimonials to Help Raise Global Support for AIDS Vaccine Development
New York, December 1, 2008—On the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) invites individuals from around the world to show their support for the development of an AIDS vaccine by contributing their voices to a new gallery of video clips about why the world needs such a vaccine.
Available at www.iavi.org/Commitments, the collection of 20- to 40-second videos captures the personal testimonies of ordinary individuals, activists, community workers, scientists and politicians who have been moved in some way by the impact of the AIDS pandemic. Individuals are encouraged to film and submit for posting on IAVI’s website their own videos about why the world needs an AIDS vaccine.
The first World AIDS Day, established by a group of international health ministers in 1988, was dedicated to raising awareness about HIV. Twenty years later, the agenda is considerably more ambitious. This year’s official slogan is “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.”
With 33 million people on the planet living with HIV, and 7,500 people infected with the virus daily, it’s clear that far more needs to be done to stop AIDS. Progress has been made getting life-prolonging antiretroviral treatments to those infected with HIV, and that progress must continue. But for every two people put on antiretroviral therapy, five people become newly infected with HIV. We need to prevent people from becoming infected in the first place.
Current prevention efforts have helped stabilize HIV transmission rates in many places, but at alarmingly high levels. The world needs a better method of protecting people from HIV. History has shown that no health intervention is cheaper or more effective at combating viral epidemics than a vaccine.
Developing an AIDS vaccine is one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time. But evidence from both human observations and animal studies suggests such a vaccine is possible, and researchers are now following novel leads that are opening up new promise in AIDS vaccine development.
The testimonial videos IAVI debuts this World AIDS Day help to demonstrate that there continues to be broad and global support for the development of an AIDS vaccine. Anyone can play a role in helping to achieve a world without AIDS.
For more information, please visit www.iavi.org/WAD2008.
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a global not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world. Founded in 1996 and operational in 24 countries, IAVI and its network of collaborators research and develop vaccine candidates. IAVI's financial and in-kind supporters include the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, The John D. Evans Foundation, The New York Community Trust, the James B. Pendleton Charitable Trust, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Starr Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; the Governments of Canada, Denmark, India, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the Basque Autonomous Government as well as the European Union; multilateral organizations such as The World Bank; corporate donors including BD (Becton, Dickinson & Co.), Bristol-Myers Squibb, Continental Airlines, Google Inc., Henry Schein, Inc., Merck & Co., Inc., Pfizer Inc and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.; leading AIDS charities such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Until There's A Cure Foundation; other private donors such as The Haas Trusts; and many generous individuals from around the world. For more information, visit www.iavi.org.