“Contrary to the promises of most AIDS experts, the signs are that a
vaccine to prevent HIV will not be found for several decades—if at all.
Those responsible for carrying on the global fight against AIDS do not
accept this grim outlook, at least publicly. Yet until the gravity of
this scientific failure is openly acknowledged, a serious debate about
how to end HIVs lethal grip on the poorest and most vulnerable in the
world cannot take place.
“The most important recent revelation
is that the relations of women with men will determine the course of
this plague. Women are now three times more likely to become infected
than young men. What might help women most is a personal method to
protect themselves from HIV. If a condom is neither available nor
practicable, microbicides might eventually be part of the answer. But
our long-term defense requires a deeper understanding of the conditions
in which AIDS is transmitted.
“Marriage—in which there can be
frequent episodes of male violence and sex with multiple partners—has
become a serious risk factor for acquiring HIV. Is it too much to hope
that the searing catastrophe of AIDS may have put before women and men
an issue that they can use to confront male violence, exploitation and
stigma? By 2010, there will be 25 million children orphaned because of
AIDS. This is a human atrocity that women and men must contend with
together—and without a vaccine.”
—Dr. Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet
ADAPTED FROM "AIDS: THE ELUSIVE VACCINE" AND EXCERPTED WITH PERMISSION OF THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS © 2004 NYREV, INC.
PHOTO: Getty Images/Brent Stirton