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AIDS Advocates Partner to Involve African Americans in search for an AIDS vaccine

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February 7, 2005

LOS ANGELES and NEW YORK, February 7, 2005 -- In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) and the Black AIDS Institute (the Institute) are pleased to announce the release of Myths About HIV Vaccines and Vaccine Research, a fact sheet that addresses misconceptions in African American communities about the search for a preventive HIV vaccine.


This fact sheet is part of a partnership between the Institute and AVAC to ensure that African Americans are involved in research efforts to develop vaccines for HIV/AIDS. The fact sheet is available on-line at http://www.blackaids.org/.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 69% of women who tested HIV-positive between 2000 and 2003 were African American. Similarly, African American men had the highest rate of new HIV/AIDS diagnosis among all other racial/ethnic groups in 2003, seven times that of their white counterparts. For African Americans and all communities highly impacted by HIV/AIDS, an effective vaccine could make the difference between life and death.
 
"One thing we clearly learned from the first large-scale clinical trial of an experimental vaccine for HIV was that African Americans and other communities of color highly impacted by HIV must be represented," said Edd Lee, AVAC's Director of Community Education & Outreach.

Recognizing this, AIDS vaccines have been a core component of the Institute's African American HIV University (AAHU) curriculum, ensuring African American AIDS experts are informed and prepared to tackle the issues of HIV vaccine research.

"This is a great example of how strategic partnerships can create needed resources for communities -- AVAC brings expertise in AIDS vaccine research, we bring expertise in African American HIV capacity building, and in the end it is the community that benefits," said Antonne Moore, Director of Programming for the Institute.
 
AAHU is a comprehensive training and internship program to decrease stigma and misperception and increase HIV science literacy in Black communities. The Institute is currently accepting applications for the next AAHU session. The deadline for submissions is February 11, 2005, and applications can be found at http://www.blackaids.org/.

About the Black AIDS Institute: The Institute's mission is to stop the AIDS pandemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black institutions and individuals in efforts to confront HIV. The Institute interprets public and private sector HIV policies, conducts trainings, offers technical assistance, disseminates information and provides advocacy from a uniquely and unapologetically Black point of view.

About the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC): AVAC is a not-for-profit, non-partisan community organization dedicated to accelerating the ethical development and global delivery of vaccines for HIV/AIDS. For more information, visit http://www.avac.org/.