By Morenike Oluwatoyin Folayan
The New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society (NHVMAS), in partnership with her media partners, is preparing to celebrate the HIV Vaccine Awareness Day with a big bash.
First, NHVMAS is working with its media partners, POSTERITY MEDIA, to celebrate the festival of blogs. On the 18th of May, POSTERITY MEDIA shall be publishing all the press releases by institutions and organizations celebrating the HIV Awareness Day.
From the 19th to the 25th of May, POSTERITY MEDIA shall be working with NHVMAS to publish summaries of the blogs shared by friends and members of the public.
There will be television and radio broadcasts and newspaper publications of public thoughts and opinions of the Nigeria public on what the development of a HIV Vaccine means to them. This is in addition to over 500 messages to be shared on facebook, twitter and instagram throughout the week as we celebrate the HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.
We jointly celebrate everyone that has invested in the process of developing a HIV Vaccine – community advocates, researchers, bioethicists, research participants, funders, sponsors, regulators. Together, we have chosen and dedicated ourselves to this long work and walk on the path to develop a HIV vaccine.
Efforts to develop a HIV vaccine started over 30 years. In April 1984, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Margaret Heckler, made a hopeful statement about an HIV vaccine being ready in two years. While this prediction was overly optimistic given that most vaccines take 10-20 years to develop, we are still optimistically working at developing a HIV vaccine 33 years later.
This year, NHVMAS and its partners celebrate the daunting efforts of everyone who keeps the vision of developing a HIV vaccine alive. Despite the known challenges with developing a HIV vaccine, the success story with the RV144 trial gives us great hope for a scientific breakthrough.
We support and celebrate ongoing clinical trials – the HVTN 702 trial; the Imbokodo trial; the NIH funded exploration of the use of antibodies able to neutralize viruses before they infect a person; and efforts to develop a therapeutic vaccine that will reduce the risk of serious disease from being infected with HIV, and possibly reduce the dose of antiretroviral drugs needed.
We shout a big ‘THANK YOU’ and celebrate you all.