WORLD AIDS DAY
Ribbon is courtesy of Wikipedia
Question and Answer with Col. Nelson Michael, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Division of Retrovirology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; Director, U.S. Military HIV Research Program
- What is the objective of the MHRP?
The U.S Military HIV Research Program-centered at WRAIR- seeks to protect the warfighter and serve the global community by reducing the risk of HIV-1 infection worldwide. While its primary focus is to develop a globally effective HIV vaccine, MHRP collaborates on HIV prevention care and treatment services, funded by the President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief, with African militaries and in the communities where it conducts research.
- What is the most important thing to know about HIV/AIDS?
With 33.4 million infections worldwide, the HIV/AIDS pandemic is a human tragedy on an enormous scale, and continues to threaten socio-economic development and stability in the world. PEPFAR has had a tremendous impact in Africa, preventing new cases and treating people who have the disease. However, for every two new HIV patients placed on treatment globally, five new cases are diagnosed. With recent advances in the HIV vaccine field, there is substantial evidence that long-term investments in vaccine research and other prevention strategies is our best hope to end this pandemic.
- How is MHRP combating HIV/AIDS (generally)?
MHRP conducts research to develop a globally effective vaccine and integrates HIV prevention, diagnostics, treatment and monitoring into a comprehensive disease control program. In 2009, MHRP announced results of an Army-sponsored clinical trial in Thailand that demonstrated for the first time a modest ability to protect against HIV infection, reducing the number of infections by 31.2 percent. This was the first time in over two decades of research that a vaccine has shown any ability to prevent HIV infection. The result from RV144 is a significant scientific milestone that scientists are activey building upon to develop increasingly effective HIV vaccines.
- What can the DoD community do to make a difference?
Global deployment requires global expertise and resources and that is why infectious disease research has always been an essential focus for the DoD. We must remain committed to defending our troops from infectious disease threats, which also improves global public health and protects individuals, sustains communities and promotes international stability.
View Question and Answer with Frederick Sawe, MBChB, MMED, Deputy Director, Kenya Medical Research Institute