"The epidemic is not over. Many of my friends and their families have
suffered from the effects of HIV/AIDS. I want to do more. This way my
support continues on."
-- an HIV vaccine study volunteer, St. Louis, MO
Communities around the nation will sponsor a variety of activities on May 18
for the Third Annual HIV Vaccine Awareness Day honoring thousands of
volunteers in 53 cities who have literally rolled up their sleeves to
receive one of 28 different experimental vaccines to prevent HIV.
The activities are also designed to help people understand why a vaccine
would be the best way to stop the spread of HIV, what it will take to
develop an effective vaccine, and how ordinary people can be part of the
international effort to find a way to prevent HIV from ravaging their
"Development of a preventive HIV vaccine remains the top HIV research
priority of the National Institutes of Health," says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.,
director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
(NIAID). "We are all indebted to the individuals on the front lines who
volunteer in the effort to find a safe and effective HIV vaccine to fight
AIDS. We are encouraged by the increasing support of various communities
throughout the nation to promote HIV Vaccine Awareness Day."
Every day, an estimated 16,000 people worldwide are infected with HIV.
Approximately 1,600 of these infections are in children younger than 15
HIV Vaccine Awareness Day activities will be held throughout the United
States. This year's events emphasize educational and outreach efforts at
various vaccine research sites supported by NIAID.
Johns Hopkins University Center for Immunization Research and Morgan State
University Public Health Program will hold a free all-day community
conference and town meeting at the Baltimore Urban League. Debra Fraser-Howze, president of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, will
give the keynote address. Other speakers include Nancy Kass, ScD, of the
Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, who will talk about the
ethical considerations in HIV vaccine research. The event will close with a
town meeting hosted by Rena Boss Victoria, DPH, from Morgan State
University, and moderated by A. Cornelius Baker, executive director of the
Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington, DC.
The New York Blood Center in New York City will engage the community in
discussions about AIDS vaccines as well as about other methods of HIV/AIDS
prevention. Verna Eggleston, executive director of the Hetrick Martin
Institute, will be the featured speaker. The event will also include
entertainment, food and educational activities at North General Hospital in
Harlem at 6:00 p.m.
Howard Brown Health Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, and the
Chicago Center for Clinical Research will hold a community forum to increase
public support, community awareness, and retention in the VaxGen trial and
vaccine trials in general. The importance of HIV vaccine trials will
be discussed by John Curd, M.D., of VaxGen and Cathy Creticos, M.D.,
principal investigator of the Howard Brown Health Center. The event will be
held at the university's student union at 7:30 p.m.
Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, in collaboration with Miriam Hospital,
will host a forum at the Memorial's Physicians' Auditorium at 8:00 a.m. A
personal view of vaccine research as told by a study participant will be a
highlight of the program. Other speakers include Kenneth H. Mayer, M.D.,
principal investigator at Memorial Hospital, and Michelle Lally, M.D.,
principal investigator of the Miriam Hospital site and assistant professor
at Brown University.
San Francisco's Department of Public Health HIV Research Section will host a
reception on June 1 for past and present HIV vaccine research trial
participants and their partners. This reception will bring both HIVNET and
VaxGen study participants together in a celebration of their efforts to help
find an HIV vaccine. St. Louis University and the Denver Department of
Health will also host such an event.
In other areas of the country, state, city and local government officials
will join community groups in recognizing HIV Vaccine Awareness Day with
proclamations and other tributes to honor volunteers. In addition to
proclamations, Vanderbilt University will have educational material
available as well as a display on HIV vaccines on campus.
University of Washington, Seattle, will send letters of appreciation to
vaccine study participants. Media will have access to participants-with
their approval-and tours of the university vaccine research laboratories.
University of Rochester will run an advertisement in a local newspaper
thanking volunteers for their participation.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is launching SAVE, Supporting
Alabama's Vaccine Efforts, which enlists local businesses to promote
awareness and prevention of HIV/AIDS by drawing attention to vaccine
research and the need for volunteers to participate in HIV vaccine studies.
Since 1987, NIAID has enrolled over 3,400 volunteers in 54 Phase I and II
preventive HIV vaccine trials (comprising 35 linked studies) of 28 different
vaccines. An additional 6,000 volunteers have participated in the
NIAID-supported studies preparing the groundwork for large-scale vaccine
investigations and studies of other prevention strategies, including topical
microbicides and behavioral interventions. In addition, more than 5,400 men and women have been enrolled in the VaxGen
study of AIDSVAX, which is the first study to test the effectiveness of a
vaccine to prevent HIV. This study is being sponsored by VaxGen, a
Together, all of these volunteers have made it possible for researchers to
learn how best to evaluate the safety and potential benefit of experimental
vaccines and other prevention strategies. They are also helping scientists
to better understand the concerns of prospective HIV vaccine trial
NIH will spend an estimated $239 million for AIDS vaccine research in Fiscal
Year 2000, which represents a 115 percent increase over FY 1996.
May 18 marks the anniversary of President Bill Clinton's 1997 commencement
address at Morgan State University, in which he set a goal to develop an
AIDS vaccine within 10 years. On that date, he also announced the
establishment of the NIH Vaccine Research Center, a state-of-the-art
biomedical research laboratory. The 50,000 square-foot, $30 million center
is scheduled to open in the fall of 2000. When the center is fully
operational, Gary Nabel, M.D., Ph.D., director, will oversee more than 100
scientists and support staff.
For information about events in specific areas, contact:
Denver Department of Public Health
Philip Osteen: 303-436-7098
Fenway Community Health
Brian Glaser: 617-927-6024
Howard Brown Health Center
Kellie Dyslin/Michael Cristofano:
Johns Hopkins University
Jennifer Donnelly-Moe: 410-614-6619
Eric Zimmerman: 410-955-2783
Memorial Hospital Pawtucket, RI
Louise C. Paiva: 401-729-2323
New York Blood Center
New York, NY
Beryl Koblin, Ph.D.: 212-570-3105
Denise Goodman: 212-388-0008
San Francisco Department of Public Health
San Francisco, CA
Reginald Gage: 415-437-4669
St. Louis University School of Medicine
St. Louis, MO
John Stoneman: 314-268-5448
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Joy Carter: 205-934-1676
University of Rochester
Shirley Erb: 716-275-5744
University of Washington
David Richart: 206-667-2376
Mary Braeuner: 615-343-6957
John Howser: 615-322-4747
For more information about enrolling in vaccine studies, call the AIDS
Clinical Trials Information Service at 1-800-243-7012. To learn more about
NIAID's HIV/AIDS vaccine research program, visit http://www.niaid.nih.gov/aidsvaccine. To learn more about clinical trials,
NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIAID
conducts and supports research to prevent, diagnose and treat illnesses such
as HIV disease and other sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis,
malaria, asthma and allergies. NIH is an agency of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services.
(TV MEDIA: B-roll of sound bites from Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, NIAID director,
and Matthew Murguía, who is associate director for policy in the White House
Office of National AIDS Policy and a former vaccine study volunteer, is
available by calling NIAID's Office of Communications and Public Liaison at
Press releases, fact sheets and other NIAID materials are available on the
NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.