AVAC in the News

Media featuring the organization or our staff

Long-Acting Drugs May Revolutionize HIV Prevention and Treatment
New regimens in development, including once-weekly pills and semiannual shots, could help control the virus in hard-to-reach populations.
April 17, 2024 — New York Times

AVAC Executive Director, Mitchell Warren Interview with Pharma Boardroom: “We now have the scientific tools to end the HIV epidemic; the challenge lies in delivery”
In an exclusive PharmaBoardroom interview, AVAC Executive Director Mitchell Warren looks back on the terrific advances that HIV science has made – transforming the disease from a death sentence to a manageable chronic illness – and why urgent, widespread, and equitable delivery of the solutions it has brought is crucial.
April 11, 2024 — Pharma Boardroom

Long-lasting, Injectable HIV Prevention Drug Set for “Aggressive” Roll-out in Africa
“Over the next 2 years, we will see more injectable PrEP use in East and Southern Africa than we’ll see in the US,” predicts Mitchell Warren, who heads AVAC, an advocacy group for HIV prevention. “That’s turning history on its head.”
March 25, 2024 — Science

30 Leaders Look to the Future of HIV
POZ marks 30 years of service and reflects on what’s next. To that end, POZ spoke to 30 leaders in the HIV community, asking each a question about an aspect of the ongoing AIDS pandemic that they know best.
March 25, 2024 — POZ

Stigma, Lack of Awareness Holding Back Use of HIV Prevention Pills, Experts Say
Over the last four years South Africa has taken large strides in making HIV prevention pills available at public sector clinics, but uptake has not been as good as some may have hoped. Thabo Molelekwa asks several experts why this might be. March 25, 2024 — Spotlight

‘62.2% of Uganda’s Young Population is Circumcised’
The Uganda AIDS Commission said that Uganda is on the right track toward their 2025 HIV prevention targets.
March 25, 2024 – New Vision

Transformative Innovation in HIV/AIDS Research and Outreach
A cure for HIV/AIDS won’t be of much use unless the community is educated and engaged. Jessica Salzwedel, senior program manager for research engagement at the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC), spoke about best practices for engagement, especially in Black communities. “Engagement needs to be meaningful and inclusive, with how we craft messages for Black Americans needing to change,” Salzwedel said. “We need to give more than just medical information out to the public and meet their multiple needs by breaking down silos and bridging gaps.”
March 15, 2024 – University of Miami: Miller School of Medicine

Huge Increase in PrEP Uptake When Services Offer Choice, Flexibility and Injectable PrEP, African Study Shows
Mitchell Warren of AVAC said that he and many other advocates and researchers had always argued for choice, but hadn’t had the evidence that it really made a difference in HIV specifically. “This is the evidence we’ve all been waiting for,” he told aidsmap. “This is the first time in a community setting that we have scientific evidence that choice matters and choice works.”
March 8, 2024 – aidsmap

Long-Lasting HIV Jab Marks ‘New Era for Prevention’ in Africa
“This is one of the first times in global health that we have seen almost simultaneous introduction in Eastern and Southern Africa, or any low and middle-income country, at the same time as weather nations,” said Mitchell Warren, Executive Director of AVAC, an international organisation working on HIV prevention.
February 22, 2024 – The Telegraph

Bending the Curve: What a decade-long roll-out of the anti-HIV pill can teach the world
The world cannot afford to squander another decade through slow, fragmented roll-out of life-saving HIV prevention. With longer-lasting options now becoming available, along with daily oral PrEP, condoms, voluntary medical male circumcision and HIV treatment, the world could finally bend the curve of HIV — but only if investment and planning for delivery are as evidence-based, person-centred and innovative as research and development in new products.
November 28, 2023 – Bhekisisa

Slash the Price by Three-Quarters — Government on Anti-HIV Jab
ViiV has already shipped PEPFAR-sponsored supplies to Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, which will arrive in late November, according to Mitchell Warren of the Coalition to Accelerate Access to Long-Acting PrEP. ViiV has confirmed the shipment to Bhekisisa, but not the donor or countries. Warren, however, says the US government has confirmed to the Coalition that the stock was bought by Pepfar. The Coalition is a group convened by Pepfar, the Global Fund, UNAIDS, Unitaid and the World Health Organisation; AVAC, the New York-based advocacy group which Warren heads up, is the secretariat.
November 16, 2023 — Bhekisisa

LISTEN: The Anti-HIV Jab Is Coming to SA. Find Out When and How
AVAC’s Executive Director sits with Bhekisisa to discuss a path forward for injectable cabotegravir for PrEP and path(s) forward that centers choice.
November 10, 2023 — Bhekisisa

Progress Against HIV and AIDS Is Fragile
Ahead of World AIDS Day, AVAC’s Executive Director Mitchell Warren sits down with Tim Murphy of POZ Magazine for a comprehensive look at where in the fight against HIV/AIDS and what advocacy and scientific breakthroughs are needed in ending the epidemic.
November 1, 2023 — POZ Magazine

How might we motivate uptake of the Dual Prevention Pill? Findings from human-centered design research with potential end users, male partners, and healthcare providers
“AVAC’s Wawira Nyagah and Kate Segal co-authored a comprehensive manuscript on a demand generation approach for the DPP (Dual Prevention Pill) including findings from research with potential users, male partners, and healthcare providers.”
November 1, 2023 — Frontiers in Reproductive Health

Over a Million SAs Have Used the HIV Prevention Pill
“For the past 18 months, donors such as the US government’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Pepfar, and the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria, have been negotiating with CAB-LA’s manufacturer, ViiV Healthcare, for a non-profit price. Although an official price hasn’t yet been announced, a cost of $240 (about R4 500) for a year’s supply (six injections) has been mentioned by various organisations, a price which Mitchell Warren of the New York-based advocacy organisation, AVAC, says is likely accurate. He says as demand increases the price could very well drop to below $100, but that is still much more than the cost of the pill. AVAC hosts a coalition that looks at how to make long-acting PrEP available as fast as possible.”
October 25, 2023 — Behekisisa

How ‘Unauthorized Status’ Is Threatening US Global HIV Initiative
“It puts PEPFAR into the annual appropriations process and potentially opens it up every year to amendments on the right and on the left. There’s no natural constituency for foreign aid in the United States, like no one’s getting primaried if they don’t support foreign aid, despite the fact that PEPFAR is a very popular, very successful program. And so it politicizes it and risks the broad bipartisanship that’s protected PEPFAR for 20 years.” – Annette Gaudino
October 22, 2023 — The Hill

Anti-Abortion Arguments Spill Into Popular Bush-era Program
“This is not about HIV prevention or treatment or care. This is not about global health. This is about a political agenda that has said, ‘We want to use anything we can to reinforce an anti-abortion agenda.”- Mitchell Warren
October 11, 2023 — Medill News Service

‘The Start of the National AIDS Movement’: ACT UP’s Defining Moment in Queer Protest History
“The AIDS epidemic is not over until it’s over for everyone. We cannot see an end to the epidemic unless we have universal access to top-of-the-line, revolutionary treatments and also prevention methods.” – Jason Rosenberg
October 11, 2023 — The Guardian

The Architecture for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, & Response (PPPR): Views from Civil Society Leaders on the UN High Level Meetings (Guest Essay)
“Health continues to dominate political agendas globally, even as urgency in the response to COVID-19, seems to be ebbing away. Last week WHO indicated how few countries are sharing information on reporting deaths from the disease and on sequencing, for example.”
September 13, 2023 — Geneva Health Files

US Republicans ‘Hold Hostage’ HIV Programme Credited With Saving 25 Million Lives
Mitchell Warren, Executive Director of AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, an international non-governmental organisation working on HIV prevention, said that the attack on the initiative is “unconscionable and reflects politics gone amok in the United States. To see it being held hostage by just a few members of Congress, who are providing disinformation and unfounded accusations to really hold a programme hostage to a political agenda, is unconscionable.”
September 12, 2023 — The Telegraph

Will the Wildly Successful PEPFAR Global AIDS Program Get Held Up in Congress Due to Abortion Politics?
“There’s no project more supported on a bipartisan basis, or with such incredible impact, and the fact that it’s being held political hostage is absolutely remarkable.” said Mitchell Warren, Executive Director of AVAC, a global HIV/AIDS prevention advocacy group.
August 11, 2023 — TheBody

Jeanne Marrazzo Chosen to Succeed Fauci as NIAID Director
“I can’t think of a better pick to be Fauci’s successor,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC). “One of Fauci’s great successes is communicating complex science to a range of audiences. I think we’ve all wondered who could fill those shoes and more importantly, who could fill the microphone explaining complex science to policymakers and to politicians and to communities and to the media. That’s Jeanne Marrazzo.”
August 2, 2023 — MedpageToday

Why Some of the Most Capable Nations Won’t Hit UNAIDS Targets
Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC for global health advocacy, access, and equity, said that many of the low- and middle-income countries that are on track to achieve targets are able to do so because of support from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
July 31, 2023 — Medscape

Shaping and Coordinating the Implementation Science Agenda for Injectable Cabotegravir for PrEP: The Role of the Biomedical Prevention Implementation Collaborative (BioPIC)
Data from two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) showed that injectable cabotegravir (CAB) for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was efficacious in reducing HIV acquisition. The US Food and Drug Administration approved CAB for PrEP in December 2021; Australia in August 2022; Zimbabwe in October 2022; South Africa in November 2022; Malawi in March 2023; and regulatory approvals are being sought in additional countries.
July 13, 2023 — Journal of the International AIDS Society

A New HIV Drug Is Coming to Africa – It Could Be Game-Changing
Long-lasting injections to protect people from HIV are set to be rolled out across Africa, potentially revolutionising the continent’s fight against the disease. Treatment for HIV has improved enormously over the last 30 years, with retroviral drugs able to suppress the virus in those who carry it and oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) widely available in tablet form to prevent infection.
July 5, 2023 — Telegraph

Put Family Planning, PrEP for HIV Prevention Under One Roof
Today is HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, an important day to acknowledge. Afterall, an HIV vaccine would be the most efficient, inexpensive way to control and possibly eradicate this stubborn, decades-old virus.
May 27, 2023 — New Vision

The Anti-HIV Injection Will Be Made in SA: Here Are 4 Benefits of the Deal That Made It Happen
Although a start date hasn’t been announced, the South African arm of the Indian drug company Cipla has confirmed that a generic version of the two-monthly HIV prevention injection, CAB-LA (short for long-acting cabotegravir), will be made at its plants in Benoni or Durban. Cabotegravir is an antiretroviral drug that blocks HIV from entering someone’s cells.
May 9, 2023 — Bhekisisa

US Officials Want to End the HIV Epidemic by 2030. Many Stakeholders Think They Won’t.
In 2018, Mike Ferraro was living on the street and sharing needles with other people who injected drugs when he found out he was HIV-positive. “I thought it was a death sentence, where you have sores and you deteriorate,” he said. Ferraro learned of his HIV status through a University of Miami Miller School of Medicine initiative called IDEA Exchange, which sent doctors and medical students to the corner where he panhandled. He got tested and enrolled in the program, which also provides clean syringes, overdose reversal medications, and HIV prevention and treatment drugs.
April 24, 2023 — KFF Health News

Uganda’s “Anti-Homosexuality” Bill Already Affecting Care
Activists and health-care providers are already seeing the chilling effects of Uganda’s proposals to further criminalise homosexuality.
April 21, 2023 — The Lancet

Payer Groups to Congress: We’ll Cover Preventive Care, For Now
Payer trade groups have written Democrats chairing five key US House and Senate committees stating their Affordable Care Act plans will most likely continue to offer many preventive health services at no cost to members while the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the challenge known as Braidwood vs. Becerra. Advocates aren’t sure they mean it or for how long. The plaintiffs in Braidwood, a federal case in Texas, are contesting the right of the government to require payers to cover the full cost of care meant to prevent certain illnesses or conditions.
April 21, 2023 — Health Payer Specialist

PrEP to Prevent HIV Moves Apace
The best way to treat the worldwide epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is to prevent people from being infected in the first place, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) appears to be a successful way to accomplish prevention among people who acquire the infection through sexual activity.
April 18, 2023 — Breaking Med

PEPFAR Is A True Bipartisan Success With An Uncertain Future
The words “gridlock in Congress” are used so often that it’s hard to believe there are still issues that are truly bipartisan. However, after many decades, there is one issue that continues to receive support from both sides of the aisle. The effort to end HIV and AIDS has been not only a uniting cause in Congress, but it has also, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), resulted in one of the best examples of US global health leadership in history.
April 14, 2023 — Health Affairs

Uganda Passes Severe Anti-LGBTQ Law—Again
The Ugandan parliament recently passed a draconian anti-LGBTQ law. The Anti-Homosexuality Act, as it is formally known, is intended “to protect the traditional family,” as its introduction states. However, it needs to be signed by the country’s president, Yoweri Museveni―who has previously campaigned against homosexuality―to become law. The bill follows a similar attempt at outlawing the LGBTQI community in 2014. That law was signed by Museveni, who has been president since 1986.
April 4, 2023 — TheBodyPro

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