Granholm Recognizes HIV Vaccine Awareness Day

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

May 17, 2006

Honoring the work of those searching for an HIV vaccine, Governor Jennifer Granholm today issued a proclamation recognizing May 18 as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.

“In Michigan alone, an estimated 16,200 residents are infected with the virus that causes AIDS,” said Janet Olszewski, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). “A preventive HIV vaccine could help save millions of lives.”

For the fourth year in a row, organizers are 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.

Experts believe that a vaccine to prevent HIV infection offers the best hope of controlling the global pandemic and loosening its grip on the world’s most vulnerable populations. The prospects for success have never been greater; more promising vaccines are currently being researched.

An HIV vaccine may also be beneficial for HIV infected individuals by helping to delay the onset of AIDS or slowing disease progression. These types of vaccines are referred to as “therapeutic” vaccines. It is not known if a preventive HIV vaccine will have a “therapeutic” benefit in HIV infected individuals. Additional clinical trials are underway.

For more information on National Vaccine Awareness Day, please visit the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website at http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/news/events/HVAD .