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

Photogallery US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid