Letter from the Editor
Welcome to the newest edition of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) Community Compass, formerly known as the CAB Bulletin.
Since 1988, December 1st has marked an important date in the global response to HIV, World AIDS Day. HIV/AIDS continues to devastate communities globally, and social and structural forces such as poverty, discrimination, intimate partner violence, and social and cultural norms relating to sex/gender, sexuality, and race/ethnicity continue to intersect and increase the risk of HIV. This is not romanticizing; this is the reality. World AIDS Day is a reminder that though we have come very far in reducing the number of new infections and disease progression in many geographic areas, there are still some communities around the world that are heavily burdened by new HIV cases annually, and more work is needed.
We have come very far regarding new and innovative treatments for HIV, primary prevention interventions, and the HIV vaccine study RV144 conducted in Thailand provided renewed optimism in the search for an effective HIV vaccine. The Antibody Mediated Prevention (AMP) studies are taking place around the world to see if these antibodies will work to prevent HIV, and if so, how much of the antibody is needed to prevent infection. This Community Compass issue highlights HVTN 702 and HVTN 705. These two HIV vaccine studies in Southern Africa are groundbreaking and innovative trials that will answer critical questions. HVTN 702 is a study in men and women in South Africa focusing on a particular HIV strain, called clade C, which is found in Southern Africa, and may result in licensure if the vaccine regimen is found to be effective. HVTN 705 is testing a mosaic vaccine regimen, that represents many strains of HIV found around the world, in women in several Southern African countries, and will answer questions about how this approach might work in different parts of the world. The answers from these studies may lead not only to expanded research into the ways we envision vaccines may be used to fight HIV, but may also uncover new pathways that contribute to the development of an HIV vaccine. To learn more about these studies, please continue to turn the pages of this magazine!
For your support of the HVTN wherever you are in the world, for the work that you do in whatever role you have in the HVTN community, and the impact we’ve been able to make in our collective history and communities, together, we want to say thank you! There is so much more work to do to get us to an HIV vaccine, which we continue to believe is the best long-term hope for ending the HIV epidemic. The HVTN Community Compass team wants to be everywhere you are, so please share with us what’s happening at your research sites, institutions, and in your communities, so that we can share it with the world.
Stephaun E. Wallace
Editor-in-Chief, HVTN Community Compass