SEATTLE – NOVEMBER 30, 2018 – The HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), headquartered at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, joined stakeholders Friday morning at the Embassy Suites in Seattle for the 15th annual Stronger Together: World AIDS Day breakfast to celebrate Seattle’s ongoing leadership in the fight against HIV and AIDS and to recognize World AIDS Day (December 1st). The HVTN is the world’s largest publicly funded collaboration facilitating the development of vaccines to prevent HIV/AIDS and has, together with global partners, demonstrated significant scientific progress in pursuit of a safe and effective HIV vaccine.
King County is among the first major metropolitan regions in the United States to reach the World Health Organization’s 90-90-90 goal, where 90 percent of residents living with HIV know their status, 90 percent of those living with HIV are on antiretroviral treatment, and 90 percent of those on treatment are virally suppressed. Fred Hutch joined Seattle’s community as well as Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center, Seattle Counselling Service, and CareTeams by Samaritan Center of Puget Sound to talk about the emerging needs and HIV health trends occurring throughout King County.
“It is an immutable fact that our study participants connect us to unwavering hope in our global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said Steven Wakefield, HVTN director of External Relations, who delivered the keynote address at the event.
Since its inception in 1999, the HVTN has conducted 79 clinical trials involving over 22,000 study participants in 13 countries. The network, with the leadership of renowned virologist Larry Corey, M.D., currently runs 49 clinical trial sites in nine countries that conduct 16 ongoing trials, four of which are efficacy trials and 12 of which are early phase trials. The HVTN currently actively follows up with approximately 12,000 study participants.
An estimated 35 million lives have been lost since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began more than three decades ago. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 37.6 million people were living with HIV in 2016, and 1.8 million new infections were documented in the same year. There are an estimated 5,000 new HIV infections daily around the world. Key populations at risk of acquiring HIV, irrespective of epidemic type or local context, include men who have sex with men, people in prisons and other closed settings, sex workers and their clients, transgender people, and people who inject drugs.
“The Seattle community is part of our scientific journey to find a safe and effective HIV vaccine. This is an invaluable contribution,” said Wakefield.
About Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first National Cancer Institute-funded cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.