December 1 is World Aids Day. This years’ theme is Hands up for #HIVprevention. With the prevalence rate still high, the theme sets to create more awareness, especially with adolescent girls and young women.
The country has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world – it’s 19.2 % according to the UN AIDS agency. HVTN 702 is the vaccine that is being trialed in South Africa. The launch of the trial is a measure towards preventing HIV infections in South Africa as more than 6 million people are currently living with the virus.
HVTN 702 is expected to include 5 400 men and women across 15 cities in the country; all study participants will receive a total of five injections over one year.
The protein vaccine has been modified from the most common strain of HIV found in South Africa with hopes of finding a licensed vaccine in 2020 as that is when the results are expected.
HIV Vaccine Trials Network is part of the organisations carrying out and overseeing the vaccine trial. “It should give the world great hope, it should give the world courage, that scientists are committed to finding an HIV vaccine and that we’re on to the next step,” says Dr. Glenda Gray, study chair for HVTN 702.