NIAID Launches Campaign to Raise Awareness of HIV Vaccine Trials
Today's young people could be the generation that helps to end AIDS through the discovery of a safe, preventive HIV vaccine. That's the challenge being laid down by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which has launched a campaign called the "Be the Generation" campaign.
Akinso: Today's young people could be the generation that helps to end AIDS through the discovery of a safe, preventive HIV vaccine. That's the challenge being laid down by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which has launched a campaign called the "Be the Generation" campaign. It challenges this generation to become involved in changing the world as the generations did before them. Dr. Peggy Johnston, Director of the NIAID's Vaccine Research Program said a concerted effort is needed to overcome several obstacles.
Johnston: The "Be the Generation" campaign has a goal of increasing knowledge and awareness of HIV Vaccine Research, particularly focusing on communities that are most impacted by HIV infection and AIDS and who also are often underrepresented in HIV vaccine research. That includes African Americans, Hispanics, women, and other communities that we're targeted include youth as well as men who have sex with men. The reason that we feel that this campaign is important is that there are a lot of misperceptions out there about HIV Vaccine research.
Akinso: According to Dr. Johnston research conducted over the past five years shows that public awareness and understanding of HIV vaccine research is very low. Dr. Johnston said through this focused public education campaign, they want to engage communities to help pave the way to a preventive HIV vaccine by raising awareness, expanding understanding of HIV vaccine clinical trials and ultimately, increasing trial participation.
Johnston: The campaign is also not only focused on these underrepresented communities but also we're focusing TV ads in cities where HIV vaccine research is currently taking place. That includes Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Chicago, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, Rochester, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Washington DC. In addition to the TV ads, there's a website — bethegeneration.org.— that individuals in this city or elsewhere can go to. They can click down and call up their city and see what's going on in their city and see how they can contribute to the AIDS vaccine effort. So in addition to the TV ads we have this website, and then I have to also add that this campaign is part of a broader effort of community partnerships that we do in collaboration with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network to provide material, brochures, tool kits, to community groups that which to educate themselves or their communities about HIV vaccines and HIV vaccine research.
Akinso: Dr. Johnston said only 25 percent of Americans surveyed were aware that HIV vaccines being tested cannot cause HIV infection. She added that misperceptions and fear related to clinical research and the use of an HIV vaccine are widespread, particularly among African Americans. Once again the website is www.bethegeneration.org. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Peggy Johnston
Topic: HIV Vaccine