Michigan Department of Community Health recognizes HIV Vaccine Awareness Day
In honor of those working toward the development of an HIV vaccine, Governor Jennifer Granholm on May 16 issued a proclamation recognizing May 18, 2008 as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day. The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) estimates that there are 18,000 people currently living in Michigan with HIV/AIDS, as of January 2008—over half of those reported have a diagnosis of AIDS.
“It is imperative, now more than ever, to accelerate efforts in clinical research to develop a preventive HIV vaccine,” said Janet Olszewski, director of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). “A preventive vaccine could save thousands of lives in Michigan alone.”
During this observance, organizers were asking people to recognize HIV vaccine research by wearing a red AIDS ribbon upside down on May 18. The upside-down AIDS ribbon forms a “V” for “vaccines,” and symbolizes the urgent need to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Despite the availability and success of HIV treatment drugs, researchers continue to work together to find a safe and effective HIV vaccine, which offers the best hope to controlling the global pandemic of HIV/AIDS by preventing new infections, as well as the possibility of delaying the onset of AIDS in those already infected.
For more information on National Vaccine Awareness Day, please visit the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Web site at: www3.niaid.nih.gov/news/events/HVAD/