HIV/AIDS Clinical Care Coordinator within Antigua and Barbuda Dr Maria Pereira is optimistic that the HIV Vaccine that is being tested in South America will yield positive results.
Over 5,400 healthy men and women ages 18 to 35 were enrolled into the large-scale trial known as HVTN 702 which began in November.
According to Dr Pereira, “Hopefully by 2020, we should be getting some good results from that. We are hoping that it will be a good trial and we can finally get a vaccine for HIV.”
UNAIDS estimates that in 2014, about 6.8 million people in South Africa were living with HIV and about 140,000 people died of AIDS.
Dr Pereira was speaking ahead of World AIDS Day that is being celebrated today December 1st.
Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Health Walter Christopher in an official statement to recognize World AIDS Day said that over 800 persons are currently living with the virus in Antigua and Barbuda. He said that the Ministry, in accepting the challenge to end the epidemic, will continue to focus its response on HIV prevention and strategies.
Walter, who was speaking on behalf of the Minister of Health, said that efforts will also be made to address the stigma associated with disease which often times may prevent persons with HIV from accessing the required services.
Additionally the Permanent Secretary indicated that the ministry will continue to control the transmission of HIV from mother to child through a number of the prevention programs.
The observance of World AIDS Day began on 1st December 1988 and each year, the AIDS Secretariat embarks on several activities as part of the HIV/AIDS awareness campaign.
This year the activities began on Monday 28th November and continue today with a World AIDS Day March starting from the Multipurpose Cultural Centre at Perry Bay and ending at the Y.M.C.A Sports Complex on Bishopgate Street.
The theme for this year is “Take the challenge, end AIDS”.