The Canadian AIDS Society (CAS) is committed to preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Canadian population. As part of this commitment, CAS has been increasing awareness of the need for a viable vaccine as one strategy in a growing range of prevention tools to stop the transmission of HIV. Great strides have recently been made in the development of HIV vaccines, including the 2009 breakthrough of the Thai Trial that confirmed proof of concept and, in 2010, the isolation of highly effective and broadly neutralizing antibodies that are thought to be key in the development of an HIV vaccine.
Drawing on eight months of research, consultation and interviews, this paper outlines the major trends in lessons learned and best practices from current public health interventions among key communities at higher risk for HIV infection. Research demonstrates that, even in this preliminary stage of vaccine development, there continues to be a need to build partnerships between researchers and communities, as well as a clear need to elucidate the science of vaccines prior to a vaccine deployment. Access barriers to current HIV prevention methods exist and these same barriers pose challenges for future HIV vaccines. Community members indicated a deep concern that current standards of prevention be maintained during vaccine trials and that a vaccine, once it is deployed, be smoothly incorporated into the existing prevention arsenal. Finally, research indicates that mobilizing resources to provide relevant and culturally-appropriate messaging and outreach materials to individuals on how a vaccine will and will not protect them from HIV is a priority for the communities CAS represents.
Download the report: Follow the condoms and Needles