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AVAC was founded in 1995 as the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition by a few volunteers with experience of treatment activism at ACTUP/NY. Their stated mission was to speed the development of preventive HIV vaccines by analyzing obstacles to HIV vaccine development and advocating to remove them, without taking resources away from basic research, treatment, or prevention.

Within a year, it had received seed funding to publish its first report (from Until There's a Cure Foundation) and incorporated as a California non-profit with nine board members having an array of backgrounds and talents. Six of them still sit on AVAC's board.

That first report, Industry Investment in HIV Vaccine Research; six that followed to track President Clinton's challenge to develop a vaccine by 2007; and the subsequent annual reports on this website sought to provide an independent, honest, well-informed critique of current efforts toward developing an HIV vaccine. AVAC believes these reports encourage dialogue and process in the many organizations whose missions relate to public health and eradication of disease throughout the world.

After a decade of pushing key stakeholders for funding and smart decision-making around AIDS vaccine research and development and using its proven methods and credibility to respond to initial controversies related to pre-exposure prophylaxis research (PrEP) in 2004, AVAC decided to expand its mandate to include the range of biomedical HIV prevention research.

In 2007, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided a five-year grant to AVAC to expand its advocacy, policy, and community engagement efforts and core mission to include the full range of experimental biomedical HIV prevention options, including vaccines, PrEP, microbicides, HSV-2 treatment, cervical barriers, and treatment as prevention. This work also includes drawing attention to the need for increased access to and uptake of proven prevention options, such as female and male condoms, medical male circumcision, prevention of vertical transmission, HIV and STI testing, and treatment and care, as part of a comprehensive response to the epidemic.

AVAC's advocacy, policy, and community education work cuts across these prevention approaches. This includes a range of activities aimed at addressing:
  • ethical issues, including community involvement in research;
  • the perspectives of specific groups on research;
  • standard of prevention and care in trials; and
  • community engagement and research literacy outside the context of any specific clinical trial.

In addition to our publications around these issues, AVAC has convened various community forums and is building specific programs to address these issues (see Programs).

While AVAC's staff is based in New York City, our programs, projects and partnerships take place around the world, with a specific focus in countries where HIV prevention research is ongoing. As AVAC continues to grow, we remain committed to the values on which we were founded. Community members need to have a seat at the table and can be a powerful force as we all work to deliver the prevention and treatment options we already have today while simultaneously developing additional options for tomorrow - all with a commitment to ending the epidemic.

AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention
101 West 23rd Street   ·  New York, NY  
+1 212.796.6423 (main)   ·  avac@avac.org
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