Microbicides and AIDS vaccines on the agenda at the UN

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) were joined recently by prominent world leaders during the United Nations General Assembly's Special Session on HIV/AIDS to emphasize the need for new preventive technologies to curb the pandemic's spread. The non-profit organizations called on governments to double efforts and funding into the development of AIDS vaccines and microbicides.

"It's important that we look for innovative options, especially for women," said Secretary General Kofi Annan, who attended the IAVI and IPM-sponsored luncheon held during the special session meetings. "It's not going to happen tomorrow, but we need to look for long term approaches."

Gareth Thomas, MP of the UK's Department for International Development spoke about the need to accelerate the efforts to overcome the scientific obstacles in developing vaccines and microbicides. This requires effectively using the funding currently available as well as seeking additional resources. The UK is hosting the summit of the G8 nations in July where it is hoped that the leaders of the world's richest nations will have development issues, including AIDS vaccines, high on the agenda.