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AVAC in the News

  • Wednesday, May 18, is HIV Vaccine Awareness Day (HVAD) 2022. It’s an exciting time for vaccine research, marked by the speed with which COVID-19 vaccines were developed. At the same time, the seemingly fast advances in the field led many to wonder, Where is the vaccine to protect against HIV? HVAD offers a chance to explore these topics and to thank the researchers, advocates and volunteers involved in HIV vaccine development.

    May 18, 2022
  • For over 2 years, the world has been riveted by progress and pitfalls of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent vaccine development and rollout. However, alongside scientific milestones of COVID-19 vaccines, there have been significant results from HIV vaccine and antibody-mediated prevention trials. These include the first proof of concept of HIV prevention from passive antibodies and recent insights on the possibility of germline targeting and the mRNA platform towards an effective HIV vaccine.

    May 17, 2022
  • At a 2016 workshop in Chennai to understand people’s hope for a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine, a participant said such a vaccine may make society more “morally corrupt”. He believed that a preventive vaccine may encourage more people to engage in unsafe sex with multiple partners. The respondent had HIV and had experienced stigma and discrimination.

    May 16, 2022
  • The US Senate has confirmed Dr. John Nkengasong as the US global AIDS coordinator, which will include leadership of the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief — the US global HIV initiative. The Cameroonian virologist is the first person born on the African continent to take on the role. He currently serves as the director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

    May 6, 2022
  • With almost half the world fully vaccinated against the pandemic, we can look at the glass as either half full or half empty — it depends on where you are and who you are. The lowest vaccination rates can be found in low-income or low-middle income countries, and among the most marginalized populations within nearly every country. So while COVID-19 vaccine development is a great example of scientific progress, its delivery reflects tragic inequity.

    April 5, 2022
    The Hill
  • One remarkable thing about the COVID-19 pandemic was how quickly a vaccine was developed to combat the virus. A process that normally spans a decade or more — dozens of clinical trials, terse patent negotiations, complex roll-out strategies — was condensed into less than one year. mRNA, messenger ribonucleic acids that elicit an immune response from cells before degrading, provided a quick and safe solution to a global health threat.

    March 30, 2022
  • In a decision widely welcomed by civil society organisations, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) recently approved the use of the monthly dapivirine vaginal ring for women 18 years and older to reduce the risk of HIV infection.

    March 29, 2022
  • Examining the opportunities and challenges of HIV/SRH integration implemented recently in three countries – Kenya, Malawi, and Zimbabwe – provides lessons to spur integration and investments there and in other nations in the region, aimed at improving health outcomes for adolescent girls and young women and curbing the global HIV epidemic. While gaps remain between strong national integration policies and program implementation, the experiences of these countries show opportunities for expanded, quality integration. This commentary draws on a longer comparative analysis of findings from rapid landscaping analyses in Kenya, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, which highlighted cross-country trends and context-specific realities around HIV/SRH integration.

    March 24, 2022
    Global Health Action
  • AIDS denialism — the government’s refusal to acknowledge HIV as the cause of AIDS, and as a result provide people with HIV with lifesaving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment — may have cost at least a third of a million South Africans their lives. That’s how many people would likely not have died of AIDS, had they had access to treatment. Now lobbyists pushing for vaping as a way to help people quit smoking insist taxing e-cigarettes like traditional smokes is leading down a similar path.

    March 22, 2022
  • If you bring your index finger to your thumb then make a circle, that’s about how small this silicone ring is. Its size is tiny but its impact enormous, which is why SAHPRA’s decision to give South Africa the regulatory go-ahead to make the dapivirine vaginal ring (DVR) available monthly to women 18 and older has been lauded by women’s health and reproductive rights advocates as seismic.

    March 18, 2022