December 1 marks World AIDS Day, a time for reflection on the pandemic that we continue to fight. For over 30 years the world has come together to find a cure for this devastating disease, beginning with treating those affected, identifying the virus responsible (HIV), developing antiretroviral treatment, implementing social and behavioral interventions, designing a vaccine, and finding a cure.
To highlight World AIDS Day, HBO will be airing the documentary “VICE Special Report: Countdown to Zero,” which features Fred Hutch faculty and staff, including VIDD Members Drs. Larry Corey, Julie McElrath and Glenda Gray.
Started in 1988, World AIDS Day began as a means to broaden the awareness of HIV/AIDS and help educate the community. As many people worldwide have been affected, either by knowing someone infected, losing a loved one or having the disease themselves, this day marks a special opportunity to reflect, remember and galvanize.
HIV/AIDS is in some ways different from many other diseases in that it is not only an infectious disease, but also historically a social stigma. This unfortunate fact has presented obstacles in eradication, treatment and prevention; unlike other communicable diseases such as the flu. It is important to raise awareness of scientific research and also marked advances in education and policy. This is especially crucial for underserved and stigmatized communities such as LGBT, sex workers and IV drug users.
VIDD houses unique programs and departments dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS in several avenues. The HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), Statistical Center for HIV/AIDS Research & Prevention (SCHARP), and many research labs focus on a gamut of strategies. These have made VIDD a worldwide renowned center on HIV/AIDS.
“VICE Special Report: Countdown to Zero” will air December 1st at 6 p.m. (PT) on HBO.