News / Africa

    Quicker Action Needed on HIV Prevention

    AVAC Executive Director Mitchell Warren.  (De Capua)
    AVAC Executive Director Mitchell Warren. (De Capua)

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Joe DeCapua
    An AIDS advocacy group says donors and researchers need to work smarter and faster to introduce prevention methods that people will actually use. AVAC says not enough has been done to capitalize on lessons learned from recent studies.


    AVAC Executive Director Mitchel Warren said that it’s time for a “reality check” in HIV prevention research.

    “Research has been a driving force in the AIDS response from its very beginning – for 30 plus years. And we often see research in one area and reality kind of in the terms of where science plays out in programs and activities on the ground. And what we tried to do in this year’s AVAC report is to really have a check on where we are with research and with HIV and AIDS, generally,” he said.

    The non-profit organization has released a new report called – Research and Reality – at the 17th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa.

    Warren, who attended the Cape Town meeting, said, “Over the last couple of years there’s been this cold rush to talk about the end of the epidemic and an AIDS-free generation. And we really wanted to look at where research is in its current form and where it might need to go to get us to the point that everyone’s talking about, which is this end of an epidemic.”

    He said an AIDS-free generation is an aspirational goal. But he says big goals are needed to stop the spread of HIV.

    “The first example, of course, is three by five. When WHO announced getting three-million people on treatment by 2005 people said ‘no way.’ And in fact the world did not reach that target. But we now have 10-million people on antiretroviral treatment. And here in South Africa this week, UNAIDS really committed to this 15 by 15 target – 15-million people to get on therapy by 2015. So, setting ambitious targets matters.”

    The AVAC report calls for “better problem solving, more critical thinking and coordinated action around large-scale human trials and faster roll-out of proven options.”

    Warren said, “A major part of this year’s report is really focused on a women’s HIV prevention research agenda. Because if we really look at the desire to move to an AIDS-free generation or ending an epidemic, it is very clear, particularly here in Africa, that we need to reprioritize and refocus our effort on how we develop additional prevention options that are going to help empower women to protect themselves from HIV. And we don’t have all the tools that we need. That is very, very clear.”

    In recent years, studies have shown that particular microbicide gels -- and the use of antiretroviral drugs as a means of preventing HIV infection -- are very effective. But just because prevention methods work does not mean that people will use them.

    “There have been huge challenges in getting people, men and women, particularly women in the trials, to adhere or to use these products on a regular basis. So, we really wanted to look at that issue to understand what needed to happen next to really help develop the tools and the options that some women can use some of the time to protect themselves from HIV. Because it is very clear that the current paradigm of option is just not enough to curb the level of infection,” he said.

    Warren said that getting communities more involved in prevention research may help develop methods that people will use on a regular basis.

    The AVAC report pays tribute to the late activist Spencer Cox of ACT UP and founder of the Treatment Action Group – and to South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.

    “He said once that’s only impossible until you do it. And committing to the way forward is critical. And that’s really at the end of the day what we’re trying to say in this report. We must do it and I think we can do it,” said Warren.

    In his later years, Mr. Mandela played a major role in the fight against HIV/AIDS, including through his foundation and children’s fund.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora