More than 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and more than 650,000 US lives have been lost as a result of the virus. Treatment can slow disease, but there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. Prevention is essential. A vaccine is the ultimate prevention tool. No major epidemic caused by a virus has ever been stopped without a vaccine.
A vaccine teaches the body’s immune system how to recognize and fight an infection or disease before it can take hold. An HIV vaccine could help prevent a person from acquiring HIV. It could also help people living with HIV to control the virus more effectively.
Right now, there is no vaccine to prevent HIV. The vaccines being tested are still only for research studies. But each new discovery helps guide future efforts. In 2009, a vaccine tested in Thailand was able to lower the number of new HIV transmissions by almost a third. This gives us hope that one day researchers will find a vaccine that is safe and effective for everyone.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of. There’s nothing to fear. There’s no HIV in the vaccine. Volunteers cannot become infected with HIV from the vaccines that are used in the clinical trials.”
“It’s highly, highly, highly important to protect our study volunteers.”
“My motivation comes from the burning desire I have to see the burden of HIV/AIDS lifted off the hearts of my close friends and community members.”
“Please, if you want to help, volunteer.”