Second Annual AIDS Vaccine Day Honors Volunteers Nationwide

"...I have a conviction... to make a difference in the course of this epidemic so humanity does not lose anyone else to this plague."

-- An AIDS vaccine study volunteer, New York, N.Y.

On May 18, communities around the country will sponsor a variety of activities for the Second Annual AIDS Vaccine Day honoring the thousands of volunteers who have literally rolled up their sleeves to receive one of 27 different experimental AIDS vaccines. The activities are also designed to help people understand why a vaccine is the best way to stop the spread of HIV, what it will take to develop an effective vaccine and how ordinary people in their communities can be part of the international effort to find one.

"All of us are indebted to the individuals on the front lines of the effort to find a safe and effective AIDS vaccine," says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). "AIDS Vaccine Day honors those volunteers who play a vital role as research partners. The rapid development of an AIDS vaccine remains a top priority of the National Institutes of Health."

NIH will spend an estimated $194 million for AIDS vaccine research in Fiscal Year 1999, which represents a 100 percent increase over four years ago.

May 18 marks the anniversary of President Bill Clinton's 1997 commencement speech at Morgan State University in which he announced the establishment of the Vaccine Research Center at NIH. Currently under construction, the center is scheduled to open in the summer of 2000. The 50,000-square-foot, $30 million building is a state-of-the-art research facility designed to bring AIDS vaccines from concepts to clinical trials. Gary Nabel, M.D., Ph.D., director of the center, has already begun recruiting scientists and charting the research course of the program.

Activities will be held throughout the United States. To commemorate the President's speech, Morgan State University in Baltimore

Contact: James Hadley
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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