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Community and Media Events Promote Vaccine Importance in Uganda
May 18—HIV Vaccine Awareness Day (HVAD)—is an annual observance to recognize and thank the thousands of volunteers, community members, health professionals, and scientists who are working together to find a safe and effective HIV vaccine.
In recognition, Makerere University Walter Reed Project-Uganda jointly held community activities and media events to educate the community about the importance of preventive HIV vaccine research. Co-sponsors included: The HIV Vaccine Interest Group, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and Makerere University Johns Hopkins University Research Collaboration.
The theme “Together, we are the solution for HIV prevention,” jointly marked HVAD and International Candlelight Memorial Day, referred to as the Bonfire (pictured left).
Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Edward Ssekandi, presided over the events at Muzinga Park in Entebbe, Uganda. Community members heard first hand from people living with HIV in their community and were encouraged to utilize the counseling and testing services on site.
Dr. Pontiano Kaleebu, Chairman Africa AIDS Vaccine Program and Acting Director of Uganda Virus Research Institute, delivered a strong keynote address that reiterated the importance of an HIV vaccine, what it will take to develop an effective vaccine and how community members can help with the international effort.
On May 15 Dr. Kaleebu and Dr. Kihumuro Apuuli, Director General – Uganda AIDS Commission, held a press conference and led ecumenical prayers at leading places of worship.