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December 19, 2013

Dear Advocate,

As 2013 draws to a close, here at AVAC we are taking time to reflect on what’s happened over the past year, all that’s been accomplished—and the work ahead in the coming year.

This year’s AVAC Report—Research & Reality, launched last week—is dedicated to AIDS treatment activist Spencer Cox, who died just over a year ago, and to Nelson Mandela, who passed away just as the Report was going to press. Cox was a passionate, incisive activist who demanded that researchers and regulators move with unprecedented urgency to respond to the epidemic. The treatments that Cox helped secure for people living with HIV were—thanks to Madiba’s leadership—eventually understood to be as essential for Africans as they were for people in the world’s wealthiest nations.

As we look back on this year and on our work to come, it’s with a sense of profound responsibility to carry forth the work of Cox, Mandela and many other heroes whose names are not as widely known. We need to be sure that research proceeds swiftly, without delay. And we need to be sure that it benefits everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, sexual orientation or geography.

This means working at every stage of the “research-to-rollout” continuum—ensuring that scientific concepts become products, that clinical trial results translate into high-impact programs, and that the world thinks in terms of combination prevention, rather than silver bullets or simple solutions.

Thanks to the support of—and invaluable partnerships with—many of you, over the past 12 months we have worked towards these goals in many ways. In particular, we have:

  • Launched a vibrant, international and interdisciplinary listserv that is the first African-led discussion forum on the scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision.
  • Continued to be a leading civil society voice in building informed demand for PrEP globally and in the US, identifying gaps and progress with rollout to date.
  • Expanded both microbicide and vaccine advocacy to help translate recent, complex results and articulate clear agendas and timelines for the ways forward.
  • Accelerated work with partners in both HIV and TB research to expand Good Participatory Practice (GPP) Guidelines to ensure meaningful engagement in research—and are delighted that GPP is increasingly referred to as the standard in the literature.
  • Served as a key convener for and partner with African women’s civil society groups seeking to understand and influence action on the question of how hormonal contraceptives impact women’s risk of acquiring HIV.
  • Produced an infographic on the “tipping point” in the AIDS epidemic response (when the rate of ART scale-up exceeds the rate of new infections) that was mentioned in the New York Times and is widely recognized as a key resource for understanding a concept that’s integral to ending AIDS.
  • Partnered with the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise and the Treatment Action Group to convene a major forum on therapeutic vaccines, and its links to both preventive vaccines and the cure agenda.
  • ...and much more! Be sure to check out for all sorts of updates.

What exactly are we planning to do now? As you’ll see in Research & Reality at, we lay out our top priorities for the coming year, including a major focus on the HIV prevention research for women and prevention in the “real world”.

As we celebrate 18 years of advocacy, we are proud of the work to date and continually energized, and inspired, by the opportunities to work with so many remarkable individuals and organizations. And we remain grateful to you for your support that allows us to reach farther, faster and on a wider range of issues than ever before. Your continued support is essential to our ability to convene, collaborate and communicate a strong, clear and cohesive vision for HIV prevention today, tomorrow and to end the epidemic.

Your support is more important than ever. Our work is sustained by your support as colleagues, collaborators and donors, and we hope that you’ll keep us in mind when planning your year-end giving and last-minute holiday shopping. There are several ways you can support AVAC, all listed on the Take Action section of the AVAC website:

Much accomplished, and much to do—together! Many thanks in advance for your continued partnership and support and warmest wishes for the New Year.


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