World AIDS Vaccine Day observances

Events on the 7th annual World AIDS Vaccine Day on 18 May 2004 reflected the diversity of the countries and communities involved in AIDS vaccine research. In Nashville, Tennessee the local baseball team featured a program on AIDS vaccines at one of its games; in Entebbe, Uganda a marching band led a parade of 500 people in celebration of the country’s ongoing commitment to AIDS vaccine research; IMPACTA, an AIDS vaccine trials unit in Lima, Peru held a contest for comic strips about AIDS vaccines and winning entries were widely published throughout the country.

AIDS organizations in Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Spain and many other countries marked the day with public calls for increased funding and support for the AIDS vaccine field. A coalition of Canadian AIDS NGOs and research groups issued a press statement calling on the Canadian government to fund the country’s national AIDS vaccine plan.

World AIDS Vaccine Day was also the release date for the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition’s annual report on the state of the field. The 2004 report focuses on gaps in “readiness” for the small-, mid-, and large-scale AIDS vaccine clinical trials, and proposes specific steps for addressing these needs. The report also highlights issues related to adolescent participation in AIDS vaccine trials, and discusses the ways in which research projects can leave communities better off.

World AIDS Vaccine Day marks the anniversary of a 1997 speech by then-US President Bill Clinton. At the time, he compared the search for an AIDS vaccine to a previous generation’s quest to put a man on the moon, and challenged the world to develop a vaccine within the next ten years.