That’s why I strongly encourage you to support IAVI’s action and World AIDS Vaccine Day by joining the European Bloggers Initiative on Friday 18 May.
Here is what you can do:
- You can publish a new post on your blog underlining the need for an AIDS vaccine, illustrated by the attached image
- You can use the following hashtag #WAVD in all your new media outreach on the need for the development of an AIDS vaccine.
HIV has caused one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, claiming nearly 30 million lives. Today, 34 million people live with HIV globally, of which the majority live in Sub Saharan Africa. 59% of those affected in sub-Saharan Africa are women.
A vaccine would make an enormous difference. The impact for women could be profound; IAVI’s latest modelling data on women shows that even a partially effective AIDS vaccine could significantly reduce the number of new HIV infections in women. Unfortunately, early data from the HIV Vaccines and Microbicides Resource Tracking Working Group shows that a downturn in HIV vaccine funding that began in 2008 continued through 2011.
Year after year, we have fought for this issue - and the development of a vaccine will remain a priority until there is real progress.
The economic and financial crisis, that so far has been an austerity-only measures approach, has stifled our economy and strangled budgets allocated to health and development programmes. The effect on Research &Development in AIDS is huge. The EU should strive to remain the main leader in the global health research arena, which would enhance European innovation, competitiveness and influence on this matter.
But, AIDS should not be only treated as an economic issue. If we do not continue to advance the fight against AIDS, if we do not soon develop an AIDS vaccine, then we risk having dramatic consequences in terms of poverty, inequality - between the North and the South of course, but also between poor and rich, between women and men, between children and adults –and in higher mortality rates, and especially for children.
Consequently, supporting IAVI’s actions and researches is not only about producing an AIDS vaccine, but is also about pursuing just development policies.
So, today on World AIDS Vaccine Day, I call on European institutions and European countries to continue funding and financing NGOs like IAVI, which are essential to achieving our progressive goals – justice, equality, solidarity and progress – throughout the world. We cannot afford a backlash on this crucial issue. The difficult economic period we are going through should not be used as a pretext to reduce and cut the funds.