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Vice President of Uganda addresses major AIDS vaccine meeting

Vice President Gilbert Bukenya of Uganda addressed AIDS vaccine researchers and scientists at AIDS Vaccines 2005, a large international meeting held in Montreal recently, and provided a perspective on how African countries can play an important role in the discovery of an effective vaccine.

Bukenya urged African countries to provide an environment conducive to vaccine research and clinical trials, including putting in place the policy and legislation that allows this work to move forward. He also highlighted the need for developing countries to work with international partners in building the human capacity and infrastructure required for clinical trials, which Bukenya says can not happen without support from the highest political level. But he also pointed out that only half of the financial resources necessary for vaccine development are currently available.

Uganda has been a leader in starting programs that provide its citizens with antiretroviral therapy as well as in AIDS vaccine research and is now hosting three ongoing Phase I AIDS vaccine trials. As a result, the number of Ugandan citizens accessing voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services has increased by 70%, according to Bukenya.

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All articles written by Kristen Jill Kresge