"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 HIV’s lethal
grip on the poorest and most vulnerable in the world cannot take place.…
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.
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 “The Lancet”
ADAPTED FROM “AIDS: THE ELUSIVE VACCINE” AND EXCERPTED WITH PERMISSION OF THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS © 2004 NYREV, INC.