News Releases

Fourth Annual HIV Vaccine Awareness Day Honors Volunteers For Their Selfless Contribution to HIV Research

A day to say thank you to the thousands of people worldwide who have volunteered for studies to develop HIV vaccines, vaccines are the world's best hope for ending the aids epidemic

SEATTLE — May 15, 2001 — Friday, May 18, commemorates the Fourth Annual HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, which honors thousands of volunteers worldwide who have literally rolled up their sleeves to receive an experimental vaccine designed to prevent HIV infection in studies.

HIV Vaccines Trials Network (HVTN) sites worldwide will host a variety of activities to raise awareness about preventive HIV vaccine trials, why a vaccine is the best hope for stopping the spread of HIV, and how ordinary people can be a part of the international effort to stem the pandemic.

The HVTN is an organization of international scientists devoted to speeding the development of a global vaccine to prevent the acquisition of HIV. The HVTN leadership and operations unit are located in Seattle, at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Seattle is also the site of the University of Washington/Hutchinson Center vaccine trials unit — one of the clinical testing sites that comprise the HVTN.

Every day, an estimated 15,000 people worldwide become infected with HIV. More than half of the new infections occur in young people under age 25. Approximately 47 percent of the 36.1 million adults living with HIV/AIDS worldwide are women, while 1.4 million of the world's children younger than 15 years old live with the disease.

The HVTN is a public-private partnership designed to combine the different skills and talents of private industry and academic researchers to work together to move favorable HIV vaccine candidates out of the development pipeline and into human testing. Much of that testing will be carried out in the HVTN, established by NIAID last year, and led by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Nine of the trial sites are located in the United States with other units in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, South America and the Caribbean, where the epidemic is particularly widespread.

May 18 was established as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day when on that day in 1997, President Bill Clinton challenged the nation to develop an AIDS vaccine within 10 years.

HIV Vaccine Awareness Day activities will be held throughout the United States. This year's events emphasize education and outreach by the research sites, which include media events, receptions to honor volunteers, and proclamations from local legislators. For information about events in specific areas, contact:

Baltimore, MD
Johns Hopkins University
Theron Scott: (410) 614-6619

University of Maryland, Baltimore
Sandra Wearins: (410) 706-1290
Dwight Payne: (410) 706-1290

Birmingham, AL
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Leslie Cooper: (205) 975-2839

Boston, MA
Brigham & Women's Hospital
Fenway Community Health
Jim Brinning: (617) 927-6038
Darren LeBlanc: (617) 927-6026

Nashville, TN
Vanderbilt University
Mary Braeuner: (615) 343-6957
Susan Montgomery: (615) 322-0873

New York, NY
Project Achieve, Bronx & Union Square and Columbia University sites
Denise Goodman: (718) 588-8900

Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Cornell-GHESKIO
Sonia Jean or Dr. Mireille Peck: (509) 222-00-31

Providence, RI
Miriam Hospital
Stephanie Howie: (401) 729-2840

Rochester, NY
University of Rochester
Patrick Fisher: (716) 275-0459

San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Department of Public Health
Billy Pick: (415) 554-9048
Reggie Gage: (415) 437-4669

Seattle, WA
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/University of Washington
Dennis Torres: (206) 521-5812

St. Louis, MO
St. Louis University
Gwen Pendleton: (314) 268-5448

For more information about enrolling in vaccine studies, call the AIDS Clinical Trials Information Service at 1-800-243-7012 or visit the HVTN at http://www.hvtn.org. To learn more about NIAID's HIV/AIDS vaccine research program, visit http://www.niaid.nih.gov/ or http://www.vrc.nih.gov. To learn more about clinical trials, visit http://www.clinicaltrials.gov.

Media Note
B-roll available with sound bites from Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, NIAID director; Dr. Peggy Johnston, assistant director for HIV/AIDS vaccines, NIAID; Dr. Gary Nabel, director of the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center; and Marcel Wise, a member of the Johns Hopkins University Community Advisory Board and a vaccine study volunteer. Call NIAID's Office of Communications and Public Liaison at 301-402-1663. Sound bites are available by calling the NIH Radio News Service at 1-800-MED DIAL (1-800-633-3425).

Media Contact
Susan Edmonds
(206) 667-2896
Sedmonds@fhcrc.org

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home of three Nobel laureates, is an independent, nonprofit research institution dedicated to the development and advancement of biomedical technology to eliminate cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. Recognized internationally for its pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation, the center's four scientific divisions collaborate to form a unique environment for conducting basic and applied science. Fred Hutchinson, in collaboration with its clinical and research partners, UW Medicine and Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Pacific Northwest and is one of 40 nationwide. For more information, visit the center's website at www.fhcrc.org.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is a world leader in research to prevent, detect and treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.