HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, May 18, 2004|
Statement of Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. Director National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health
May 18th marks the seventh annual HIV Vaccine Awareness Day. It
is a day to educate Americans about the urgent need for preventive
HIV vaccines and to thank participants in HIV vaccine trials for
their selfless dedication to ending the HIV pandemic. This year's
theme is "Real People, Real Progress," embodying the thousands
of volunteers and researchers involved in the search for effective
preventive HIV vaccines.
HIV/AIDS continues to devastate communities in the United States
and around the world Approximately 40 million people worldwide are
estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS. In the United States, nearly
one million people are living with HIV/AIDS, and more than 40,000
people become infected with HIV each year. HIV is the number one
killer of African-American men between the ages of 25 and 44, and
the third leading cause of death among Latinos between the ages
of 35 and 44. It also is the third leading cause of death among
all women between the ages of 25 and 44.
While people of color are overrepresented among U.S. HIV/AIDS cases,
they are underrepresented in U.S. preventive HIV vaccine trials.
Many reasons account for this, but one fact remains resolutely and
absolutely clear: when we find a vaccine we will want to be able
to show that it works for everyone regardless of their race, ethnicity
or gender. To accomplish this, all communities must be involved
in the search for a vaccine. Future trials will require more individuals
to volunteer than ever before, and those individuals must be representative
of the most affected communities.
NIAID's Vaccine Research Center, the NIAID-supported HIV Vaccine
Trials Network and our colleagues in the public and private sectors
are leading the effort to test HIV vaccines. Many community-based
and national organizations are working with NIAID and taking a strong
leadership role in educating their constituents about ongoing research
by providing accurate, timely and culturally relevant information.
For the second year in a row, the day will be commemorated with
a twist on a familiar symbol of AIDS awareness, the red ribbon.
I ask you to wear your AIDS ribbon upside-down to symbolize a "V"
for vaccines and the vision of a world without AIDS. Ultimately,
this vision is our best hope for all. And it is in this spirit of
hope that I join with those in the United States and the world in
commemorating and honoring this valiant effort.
For information about HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, including a list
organizations commemorating HVAD, visit www.aidsinfo.nih.gov,
or call 1-800-HIV-0440.
To learn about Vaccine Awareness Day activities around the country,
Dr. Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy
and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in
Bethesda, Maryland. The National Institutes of Health is an agency
of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
For more information on HIV vaccine research, please visit: