International HIV Vaccine Day
Message from UNAIDS Executive Director Mr. Michel Sidibé
Geneva, 18 May 2010—In marking this International HIV Vaccine Day, it is clear that the best hope of ending the AIDS epidemic lies in a safe and highly effective HIV vaccine.
Following the encouraging but modest results of a 31% protection against HIV infection in the Thailand HIV vaccine trial in 2009, developing a safe and effective HIV vaccine is now more than ever closer to becoming a reality. But in order to achieve this feat, enormous challenges have to be surmounted, and we have some way to go.
Communities, study participants and researchers have been contributing towards the goal of finding a safe and effective HIV vaccine and I commend their tireless work. Vaccine development is a collaborative effort and over the years has demonstrated the value of partnership between the North and the South—in sharing ideas and knowledge and producing results.
UNAIDS stands behind HIV vaccine research and will continue to work with our partners in sustaining the vaccine development programmes. With 2.7 million new infections in 2008, we need to keep investing in the search for more strategies to prevent HIV infection. Meanwhile, universal access to HIV prevention, treatment care and support must remain a top priority.
We must treat all people living with HIV in need right now and we must accelerate efforts to stop new HIV infections—because for every two people who start life saving treatment, five people become newly infected.