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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid