Fight Against HIV/AIDS Pandemic Requires All Levels of Society, Behavior Change, Dybul Says
Efforts to curb the spread of HIV worldwide will not be effective unless all levels of society become involved in the fight against the disease, Ambassador Mark Dybul, who serves as the U.S. global AIDS coordinator and administers the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, said on Thursday, VOA News reports. Dybul during a VOA interview said that this year's World AIDS Day, which will be held on Dec. 1, should "emphasize" the "promise of partnership" in the fight against HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day should highlight that "we are not going to solve the AIDS epidemic, we're not going to solve any development issue, as long as we think in donor-recipient-reliance ways," Dybul said, adding, "It's got to be a partnership and it's got to be a partnership from everyone -- government, nongovernment, private sector, faith based, community based." Dybul also said that without a safe and effective HIV vaccine, preventing new HIV cases is tied to changing people's behavior. "Changing human behavior is a very difficult thing, and you can't just tell people, 'Well, you might die,'" Dybul said, adding, "It's a much deeper, more difficult thing. And that means meeting people where they are, getting to some of the cultural influences that are so important in changing people's behavior." According to Dybul, it has proven difficult to create an effective HIV vaccine because the "immune response and how we actually control the virus is still not well understood. So until we get some of those technological breakthroughs, it's going to be very difficult to develop an effective preventive vaccine." He added that it might be possible to develop a partially protective HIV vaccine (De Capua, VOA News, 11/17).
Brownback, Obama To Take HIV Test on World AIDS Day
Sens. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on World AIDS Day plan to each take an HIV test to encourage others to be tested for the virus, the AP/ABC News reports. Brownback and Obama plan to be tested during a two-day HIV/AIDS summit at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. The senators are scheduled to be speakers at the summit and will take part in a panel discussion (Blood, AP/ABC News, 11/17).