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World AIDS Vaccine Day 2008
Date:5/16/2008

Debunking the Myth 25 Years Later: An AIDS Vaccine is Possible and Still Urgently Needed

NEW YORK, May 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Twenty-five years since the discovery of HIV, the world has made considerable advances in addressing the AIDS pandemic. Scientists have learned a tremendous amount about HIV, perhaps more than any other pathogen, and have developed more drugs to treat AIDS than all other viral diseases combined. But this progress is not enough. While it is vital to treat as many HIV-infected individuals as possible and provide current prevention options more widely, the world still urgently needs to search for new tools that can prevent people from becoming infected with HIV in the first place. And a vaccine remains the best hope for eliminating this devastating disease once and for all.

Eleven years ago, during a commencement speech made at Morgan State University, U.S. President Bill Clinton called for an AIDS vaccine within a decade. A year later, AIDS vaccine advocates around the world marked the first World AIDS Vaccine Day. While Clinton's ten-year goal was unfortunately not met, a great deal has been learned in the quest to develop a vaccine.

This has been an eventful year in AIDS vaccine development; the second vaccine candidate to complete efficacy testing failed. In the wake of this news, some skeptics have questioned whether an AIDS vaccine will ever be developed. It is true that scientists have a difficult task ahead, and much remains unknown. But on May 18, as we honor all the individuals who work tirelessly to help make an AIDS vaccine a reality, it is an appropriate moment to reflect on what we do know. It's much more than many realize.

Science suggests an AIDS vaccine is possible. Nearly every individual who becomes infected with HIV is able to hold the virus in check for several years before progressing to AIDS. What's more, some individuals, known as elite controllers, are able to hold the vi
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SOURCE International AIDS Vaccine Initiative
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