News Release

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

NIAID Announces New Campaign To Raise Awareness of Preventive HIV Vaccine Research

Young Americans are Challenged to “Be The Generation” that Ends the AIDS Epidemic.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health, today announced the launch of the “Be The Generation” public awareness campaign, challenging young Americans to be the generation that ends AIDS through the discovery of a safe and effective preventive HIV vaccine.

Using multi-generational pairs of individuals, the awareness ads compare major social issues such as civil rights with the search to end the AIDS epidemic. The campaign challenges this generation to become involved in changing the world as the generations before them did.

“We are at an important point on the road to the development of a preventive HIV vaccine,” says Margaret Johnston, Ph.D., Director of NIAID’s Vaccine Research Program. “We must make a concerted effort now to overcome several obstacles, including a general lack of knowledge about HIV vaccine research, in order to recruit diverse populations into clinical trials that will determine whether vaccine candidates in development might benefit this and future generations.”

The campaign will be launched with a television commercial airing in 14 U.S. cities where HIV vaccine research is taking place (see below). The ad, aimed at educating Americans about preventive HIV vaccine research, will run for six weeks in these target markets beginning in October. The ads also can be viewed on the affiliated Web site, The TV and Web outreach will be supplemented by a community toolkit, and partnerships between the campaign, community-based organizations and HIV vaccine research institutions.

Research conducted over the past five years shows that public awareness and understanding of HIV vaccine research is very low. For instance, only 25 percent of Americans surveyed were aware that HIV vaccines being tested cannot cause HIV infection. In addition, misperceptions and fear related to clinical research and the use of an HIV vaccine are widespread, particularly among African Americans, the population most heavily affected by HIV/AIDS in the United States. Left unchecked, these misperceptions can make trial recruitment more difficult, delay clinical research and undermine education efforts and eventual use of a preventive vaccine.

“Through this focused public education campaign, we 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,” Dr. Johnston says.

The “Be The Generation” campaign materials, which can be found on the campaign’s Web site, include posters, brochures, detailed fact sheets and mini fact sheets. The materials are tailored to the four U.S. audiences most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic: African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, women, and men who have sex with men. The 14 markets airing the spot are: Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Chicago, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, Rochester, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.

News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at

NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health. NIAID supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and illness from potential agents of bioterrorism. NIAID also supports research on basic immunology, transplantation and immune-related disorders, including autoimmune diseases, asthma and allergies.

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