Vaccine Awareness Campaign

New York, January 15, 2010

Press Release             Contact: Carlos Arboleda, 718.429.5309

Queens Pride House Does HIV Vaccine Education

This spring, Queens Pride House applied for and was granted a contract from Ogilvy Public Relations to conduct an HIV vaccine communications campaign on behalf of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).  This contract, under the Community Education and Outreach Partnership Program (CEOPP) of the Division of AIDS at NIAID, charges Queens Pride House with the task of disseminating information about the state of HIV vaccine development in the country.  The key messages that QPH is communicating are that a vaccine, along with prevention and care, is our best hope to end the AIDS epidemic and that  we don’t have a vaccine yet, but our best scientists are working very hard to develop one.

Why do we need a vaccine for HIV? Because 25 years after the first cases of AIDS were identified, we still do not have a cure and people in this country, and elsewhere in the world, continue to become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The statistics are staggering.  Today, approximately 40 million people around the world are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS. Of these, 37 million are adults and 2.5 million are children under the age of 15. In the United States, 40,000 people contract HIV each year, with half of all new infections occurring in young people under the age of 25.  That is more than 100 people per day.  More than fifty percent of those new infections in the United States are among people of color.

Hope in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  Despite the grim statistics, Queens Pride House shares the hope for developing a truly effective HIV vaccine someday.  Overall, great strides have been made against HIV/AIDS, as evidenced by the progress that prevention and treatment programs have made.  Prevention efforts in the U.S. have reduced HIV infections from approximately 150,000 per year to around 40,000 per year, and in treatment, we have seen the positive impact of advances in HIV therapies.  Scientists believe they are getting closer to finding an effective preventive HIV vaccine and are working to speed up the research process.  More vaccines are being tested than ever before, and the number of HIV vaccine trial sites is expanding worldwide. 

Community participation is essential.  By raising awareness and encouraging study participation, individuals and communities can contribute to the successful development of HIV vaccines.  Although more than 12,000 people have already volunteered to take part in HIV vaccine studies, many more will be needed.  A large HIV vaccine trial will require thousands of additional HIV negative participants of all races/ethnicities, genders and socioeconomic backgrounds to ensure that the vaccine works in all populations. 

Therefore, community support is essential in efforts to break down stigma and myths about HIV vaccine research.  Developing an effective HIV vaccine depends upon individuals and communities informing, educating and supporting others.  And this is why Queens Pride House is conducting a communication campaign through posters and trainings to demonstrate our support and commitment to finding an HIV vaccine.

To learn more about HIV vaccines or HIV vaccine research, please visit www.aidsinfo.nih.gov/vaccines, www.vrc.nih.gov or www.hvtn.org,  or call 800-HIV-0440 for a free brochure (available in English and Spanish).