HIV Vaccine Awareness Day is May 18th
Over the next 90 days, we will be sending monthly email messages illustrating the importance of HIV vaccine education as we approach HIV Vaccine Awareness Day . Today, we begin with an introduction to vaccines and their role in reducing the impact of infectious diseases.
IWhat is a vaccine? A vaccine is a substance that teaches the body to recognize and defend itself against organisms that cause a disease. It causes a response from the immune system that prepares it to fight – and leaves a memory of how to fight – in case of exposure to a specific infection. A vaccine is not a cure, but prevents infection or slows the progression of a disease in the event infection occurs.
Why are vaccines important? Every year, vaccines prevent up to 3 million deaths and save 750,000 children from disability. With the exception of clean drinking water, no other human health intervention has had the impact of vaccination on reducing infectious diseases. Moreover, immunization has been documented as one of the most cost-effective means of improving public health. HIV/AIDS is one of the most serious health threats of our time – especially for people of color. One in every two people living with HIV in the U.S. is Black. And that doesn’t include those who may be infected and don’t know it. Additionally, more than 200,000 Latinos in the U.S. and Puerto Rico are currently living with HIV/AIDS. In fact, Latinos account for the majority of diagnosed AIDS cases within one year of testing positive for HIV.
Finding a vaccine is our best hope for preventing the spread of the disease. However, unless more people of color begin to support vaccine research, an AIDS vaccine may never be found. If we don’t see ourselves as part of the solution, the AIDS epidemic is only going to get worse.
It’s time for everyone – especially African Americans and Latinos – to come together and end the AIDS epidemic once and for all. You can play a very important role in helping to stop the spread of HIV in your community by simply educating yourself and others about HIV vaccine research.
An online tutorial called “Introduction to AIDS Vaccines” is a great place to start learning about it.
So please take a few minutes to view the tutorial here: www.nmac.org/vt/en
"Let's Be the Generation that Stops AIDS" The NIAID HIV Vaccine Research Education Initiative's "Be the Generation " website features a video introduction to several people who work in the area of HIV vaccine research throughout the country. To hear their stories, click here.
Get educated about AIDS vaccines and pass the knowledge you gain along to others. Thank you for helping to stop AIDS.