CEO Seth Berkley statement marks World Aids Day
As we mark World AIDS Day this year, let there be no doubt that the world is making great progress in tackling HIV and AIDS, and with continued focus and work the end of the pandemic could be in sight.
As the Founder, President and CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and now the CEO of the GAVI Alliance, I have spent my professional life working to create prevention tools to defeat HIV/AIDS and to help people all over the world live in good health.
We are in a renaissance in AIDS vaccine development and I hope that one day the GAVI Alliance will play its part in rolling such a vaccine out to the people we serve in developing countries.
Vaccines offer protection
In the meantime, GAVI is funding vaccines that provide important protection for people living with HIV/AIDS. Studies have shown that children with HIV/AIDS are up to 40 times more likely to contract pneumococcal disease than HIV-negative children, and may be more likely to contract antibiotic-resistant strains of the disease. Pneumococcal disease is the leading cause of pneumonia which is, in turn, the most common infection leading to hospitalization among HIV-infected children.
This year, GAVI has successfully introduced pneumococcal vaccines in 15 developing countries and we are on track to reach 58 countries by 2015.
A world free from AIDS
Over the last four decades, so much progress has been made to defeat AIDS and now is the time to press ahead to achieve our collective vision of a world free from AIDS.
No one should die of a disease that is preventable and we at the GAVI Alliance stand ready, willing and able to play our role in achieving a world with zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.