Today at the ICASA conference in Cape Town, South Africa, AVAC released AVAC Report 2013: Research & Reality—an analysis of the state of HIV prevention research and the advocacy needed to catalyze action on a range of issues.
The full report, executive summary, downloadable graphics and PowerPoint slides are available at www.avac.org/report2013. Click here for our press release.
In Research & Reality, we call on funders and researchers to capitalize on lessons learned from a range of recent HIV prevention trials via better problem solving, more critical thinking and coordinated action. We identify progress and gaps in large-scale human trials, rollout of proven options and ongoing research for new advances that women and men will want to use.
The Report pays particular attention to the needs of women and girls in an in-depth chapter titled A Field on the Verge of Change: What it will take to find new prevention options for women. Citing recent trials that failed to provide conclusive answers due to low use of products in the studies, we lay out key steps to creating a revamped development agenda for female-initiated methods including vaginal gels, rings and other strategies.
In the second section of the Report – Research Reality Checks – we take a brief look at several prevention research domains where the ideal conditions of research are colliding with unruly realities.
The Report urges researchers, donors and implementers to step up plans for large-scale delivery of recently proven methods for women and men, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and non-surgical male circumcision devices. While pilot studies of these options are in progress, a lack of longer-range plans for program scale-up and rollout means that valuable time, and lives, could be lost.
It also calls for commitment to large-scale clinical trials to advance the AIDS vaccine field and the arena of hormonal contraception and HIV risk. Both areas require funding, clear messaging and smart trial designs.
This Report is designed for stakeholders working on different technologies, and at every stage of the “research-to-rollout” continuum that encompasses the many steps between an initial scientific concept and a new option offered in an effective public health program. Advocacy is needed at every stage. It is critical to sustain support for research to develop game-changing tools such as microbicides or an AIDS vaccine; pilot projects that demonstrate the impact of emerging tools like PrEP; and public health programs that deliver combination prevention including treatment as prevention and voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for maximum impact.
We look forward to working with partners to debate and discuss our recommendations, identify next steps and accelerate action in the coming year.
To order printed copies of this year’s Report (and other AVAC publications) click here.