News / Africa

Report: HIV Prevention Research Enters New Era


Joe DeCapua

A new report warns that promising developments in HIV prevention could be undermined by funding gaps and a lack of political will.  The report’s being released in conjunction with the 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna.

Mitchell Warren, head of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, says the new report is called "Turning the Page."

“Turning the Page for us refers to the HIV prevention research world really entering a new period in its activity,” he says.

That new period comes 30 years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Good news, bad news

“We’re at a point now where some really important recent discoveries have not answered all our questions, but have certainly helped take us into some new directions and really open up a new chapter in the search for additional options to prevent HIV,” says Warren.

AVAC report released at 18 International AIDS Conference
AVAC report released at 18 International AIDS Conference

Those recent discoveries include anti-bodies found in some HIV positive people that prevent the AIDS virus from entering cells.  Then there’s last September’s results of the Thai vaccine trial, which proved a vaccine can offer some protection from infection.

But Warren says the good news comes at a time when researchers are facing a big obstacle – limited funding.

“Well, isn’t that just the way science is?  Just as we’re getting some of the most exciting results, just as we’re getting new concepts to test, we’re reaching a point in the global environment where the economy just can’t support everything…. Clearly, this is all happening in the context of severe economic crisis,” he says.

It’s time to be “smarter,” he says, about research as funding levels off or decreases.

“We’re seeing a lot of competition for resources, which is inevitable in periods of scarcity.  People saying we can’t afford to have disease specific programs.  We need public health.  We need good health systems.  Other people saying the treatment programs that have been scaled-up over the last number of years have been the best investments in building health systems, while also dealing with the AIDS epidemic,” says Warren

A microbicide that works against HIV?

One of the major announcements expected at the 18th International AIDS conference is about a microbicide gel called CAPRISA 004.

“It’s a fascinating program.  CAPRISA is the center of AIDS program of research in South Africa at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.  And KwaZulu-Natal is one of the provinces of South Africa and it’s the one with the highest rates of HIV. And it’s been really the epicenter of the epidemic there,” he says

The research is funded by the South African government and USAID. Clinical trial results for CAPRISA 004, which contains HIV fighting drugs, will be released on July 20.

“Whether that result is positive or if is a flat result or something in between – something that we’re not quite sure what it is – it is the first ever anti-retroviral containing product.  So it really does open up a new world of learning,” he says.

Warren says when it comes to HIV/AIDS, people must be ready to be surprised.  He adds, “The greatest advances…have come about because people and institutions refused to accept conventional wisdom about what was possible.”

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs