New Delhi : May 18 marks the HIV Vaccine Awareness Day that commemorates U.S. President Bill Clinton’s 1997 declaration that, “only a truly effective, preventive HIV vaccine can limit and eventually eliminate the threat of AIDS.”
In India, 2016 also marks 30 years of work in research and development of an AIDS vaccine since the first case of HIV was documented.
HIV Vaccine Awareness Day is commemorated on May 18 each year to educate the world on the need for an AIDS vaccine and recognise and celebrate the many scientists, health professionals and community members across the world who are working together to discover an HIV vaccine and make AIDS history.
Despite remarkable advances in treatment and prevention since then, HIV/AIDS is still neither contained nor manageable.
“Recent studies make it clear that we will not be able to accelerate the end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic without a cure for HIV or new tools to treat and prevent virus transmission. Further investment and innovation in HIV prevention will be required to realize our shared vision of a world without AIDS,” said Dr Rajat Goyal, Country Director – India, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI).
As per a recent report by Nations AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), India is still estimated to have 2.1 million people living with HIV (PLHIV), out of which, 6.54 percent are children below the age of 15, while a massive 40.5% of total HIV infections are among females.
However, a recent modeling study, partnered by IAVI, indicates that even with substantially increased use of existing treatment and prevention options there will be hundreds of thousands of new HIV infections per year, in low- and middle-income countries like India, for decades to come.
Therefore, added to the comprehensive HIV/AIDS response, an effective and well-implemented vaccine could prevent a majority of new HIV infections, driving down the number of people who need life-long treatment, and ultimately the total costs of global HIV/ AIDS programs. (ANI)