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Turning the Page in HIV Prevention Research: An AIDS Vaccine is Possible — AVAC Examines The Way Forward
Date:5/17/2010

NEW YORK, May 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For more than a decade, researchers and advocates have marked HIV Vaccine Awareness Day with varying degrees of hope, cynicism and despair. This year, in large part because of the results of the Thai Prime-Boost vaccine study, there is greater cause for hope than ever before and a renewed sense of urgency to transform this hope into a reality.

In September 2009, the world's largest AIDS vaccine trial to date showed the first evidence that an experimental AIDS vaccine could lower the risk of HIV infection. The results were complex; the observed benefit from the vaccine was modest; and the field is still years away from a highly protective vaccine.

"The caveats to the Thai Prime-Boost study results are important and true. But letting them become the entire story does a severe, even dangerous, disservice to the field, the trial and especially the 16,000 people who participated in the trial," said Mitchell Warren, Executive Director of AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention. "Despite the many perspectives on and interpretations of the trial – and its results – the Thai AIDS vaccine trial provides evidence for the first time that it is possible to reduce the risk of HIV infection with a vaccine. AVAC and others have worked to explain the uncertainty of the results and the need for follow-up research. We will continue to do this because the science is complicated, and the future is unknown."

But for HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, AVAC's loud and clear message is that the Thai Prime-Boost trial changed the game for AIDS vaccines. A preventive AIDS vaccine is possible. The results were surprising to many and prompted some skepticism. But it is potentially disastrous if all that advocate
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SOURCE AVAC
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