Announcing the Call for 2015 Advocacy Fellowship Applications

AVAC is pleased to announce the call for 2015 Advocacy Fellowship applications for the sixth year of the Advocacy Fellowship Program. The submission deadline for the Advocacy Fellowship applications is Monday, 4 August 2014. Download application materials at

About the Program

The goal of AVAC’s Advocacy Fellowship is to expand the capacity of advocates and organizations to monitor, support and help shape biomedical HIV prevention research and implementation of proven interventions worldwide. The Advocacy Fellowship is guided by AVAC’s conviction that effective and sustainable advocacy grows out of work that reflects organizational and individual interests, priorities and partnerships.

The Advocacy Fellowship provides support to emerging and mid-career advocates to design and implement advocacy projects focused on biomedical HIV prevention research and implementation activities in their countries and communities. These projects are designed to addresses locally identified gaps and priorities. Fellows receive training, full-time financial support and technical assistance to plan and implement a targeted one-year project within host organizations working in HIV/AIDS and/or advocacy. Host organizations are critical partners in the Fellowship and hosting Fellowship projects can be an opportunity for an organization to further develop its own work in this field.

The Fellowship program focuses on low- and middle-income countries where clinical research on HIV vaccines, microbicides, multi-purpose prevention technologies and PrEP is planned or ongoing and/or where there are plans for or current work on implementation of voluntary medical male circumcision, PrEP, treatment as prevention, “combination prevention” packages that combine biomedical strategies for population impact, and where the links between reproductive health and HIV risk for women are being studied.

HIV Prevention Research Advocacy Fellows are:

  • Emerging or mid-career community leaders and advocates involved or interested in advocacy around biomedical HIV prevention research and implementation.
  • Individuals with some experience or education in the areas of HIV and AIDS, public health, medicine, international development, women’s rights, communications, and/or advocacy with key populations, such as sex workers, gay men, other men who have sex with men and transgender women and people who inject drugs.
  • Based in low- and middle-income countries where biomedical HIV prevention clinical research is planned and/or where implementation of “combination prevention” is planned, ongoing or emerging.
  • Able to collaborate with English-speaking mentors.

Please visit to identify countries where research and implementation is ongoing or planned and to learn more about the research.

Learn More

Prospective applicants or host organizations who want to learn more about this program or have questions about the application process are encouraged to:

  • Watch a three-minute video featuring past and present Fellows, host supervisors and AVAC staff reflecting on the program.
  • Download the 2015 Advocacy Fellowship Information Packet and application materials at
  • Visit AVAC’s Fellows page for more information on current and alumni Fellows.
  • Join an informational conference call to learn more about the program and ask questions directly to those who lead the program and/or have been a part of it on Tuesday, 1 July, at 7am Lima / 8am New York / 9am Rio / 2pm Johannesburg / 3pm Nairobi / 5:30pm Mumbai / 7pm Bangkok (Visit to confirm the time in your time zone.) Register for the call here. [The call will be recorded and loaded to the Fellows page.]

If you have any questions about the Fellowship program or the application process, please email

Applications are due by MONDAY, 4 AUGUST 2014.

Please share this information with your partners, and we look forward to receiving your application!

What Do Women Want in HIV Prevention?

For the past two decades, the HIV prevention research field has been on the hunt for options that women can use to reduce their risk of HIV, Up until recently, there have been few options other than the female condom. But in the past few years, a range of trial results have given new insights into strategies that could change the lives of women and men around the world. Some of these trials, including studies of oral tenofovir-based pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, and the microbicide tenofovir gel have found high levels of protection in some study populations—and low or no protection in other studies of the same products. The difference? In some studies, women used the products on a regular basis. In others, they didn’t.

PrEP and tenofovir gel only protect if used consistently and correctly. So do the low adherence data mean that women don’t want, or won’t use these products in the real world—not at all. In fact, the research world is still exploring what impacts women’s decisions about adherence in clinical trials. In the process, they’re uncovering key questions that less about how women view a given product, and more about how women view research itself. AVAC and its partners are dedicated to informing this evolving conversation with views from women and men who are impacted by and asked to participate in clinical trials. We’re doing this in many ways, including ongoing country-level work focused on preparing for the results of ongoing clinical trials; in-depth exploration of the issue in our most recent AVAC Report; and a recent webinar from our “Research and Reality” series that focused on adherence, women’s product preferences and the future of HIV prevention trials in women.

Have an idea about what women want—or don’t want? Have a question? Let us know!

Introducing AVAC’s New Website

Welcome to AVAC’s new website; we hope you come in and take a look around! We’re delighted to debut a completely revamped site that contains all of the high-quality materials and updates you may be familiar with—along with new features that we hope are user-friendly, informative and even fun! 

Some areas of the site to explore:

Our Resources Search page—where you can search by country, intervention, material type or go “global” to see the full range of resources on offer.

Our Infographics Gallery—home to visuals that clarify complex processes and chart advocacy priorities in clear, concise formats.

Our What We Do section—our top priorities, positions and programs, linked to key resources, updates and ways to get involved.

In the coming weeks, check back here for more tips on new features of this site. And please do let us know if there’s anything you’d like to see here that you can’t find.

HIV Vaccine Awareness Day: On the road to an AIDS Vaccine

Each year on May 18th, HIV Vaccine Awareness Day (HVAD), we recognize and thank the thousands of volunteers, community members, health professionals, advocates, policy makers and scientists who are working together to find a safe and effective AIDS vaccine. HVAD is a reminder that vaccine research is rarely linear, often unpredictable and always an essential component of a comprehensive response to the epidemic. It is also often a reminder that awareness of the next steps for vaccine development is limited, and HVAD is an annual opportunity to raise awareness.

The road to an AIDS vaccine is not easy. But after 30 years since HIV was identified, researchers believe we’re closer to a vaccine than we ever have been. In 2009, scientists announced that RV144, a large-scale trial in Thailand, found modest levels of protection. This was the first evidence in people, or proof of concept, that an AIDS vaccine can reduce the risk of HIV. The Pox Protein Public Private Partnership (P5) now aims to build on RV144 findings in Thailand, and to explore a modified vaccine in South Africa. Follow-on studies are starting and ongoing in Thailand; additional large-scale trials in both countries are expected to start in the next two to three years.

At the same time, the AIDS vaccine pipeline of other vaccine approaches is increasingly diverse. More than 30 AIDS vaccine clinical trials are underway, testing a variety of candidates and vaccine concepts. In the UK, funders are supporting key AIDS vaccine research though the UK HIV Vaccine Consortium, the Department for International Development, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. The current challenge is to continue moving promising strategies forward without delay.

In this period of scientific development, while the world waits for an AIDS vaccine, we believe it is critical to:

Track Timelines and Investment

The P5 timelines have shifted, with delays that have challenged the sense of momentum and optimism. However, follow-on trials are still expected to begin in South Africa in 2015—and it is critical to support this effort, even while urging the P5 to remain transparent, efficient and accountable. Pubic sector investment and industry involvement in AIDS vaccine research are both essential and advocates should press for commitments from government and industry.

Get Engaged

Civil society input is needed to be sure that trials are acceptable, and address the concerns of the communities who might be asked to participate— and who might benefit from the research in the future.

Help Manage the Hype

There are many steps between positive animal data and trials to test efficacy in humans. Headlines that tout efficacy in small animal studies before it’s been proven in humans can over-inflate expectations.

Demand a Plan

The field has to be vigilant and selective, so that concepts advance or are set aside swiftly, with clarity about next steps.

Finally, at AVAC, we have developed a 2014 HVAD “toolkit” and will be hosting a webinar entitled Breakthroughs and Big Questions: AIDS vaccine research in 2014 on Monday, May 19 3 PM (BST) (see full information below).

Visit our HVAD page and download the toolkit.

For more on the webinar, visit here.

This post first appeared on

New Materials on the State of Vaccine Research for HIV Vaccine Awareness Day (HVAD)

AVAC’s HVAD Toolkit includes a new set of infographics on the current state of the field, a set of fact sheets and other tools to help explain vaccine science in simple language.

US CDC Releases New Clinical Guidelines for PrEP

The guidelines, the first national guidelines for PrEP use, provide instructions for health providers about providing daily TDF/FTC as PrEP for individuals at “substantial risk for HIV infection”; visit PrEP Watch to learn more about the guidelines, download materials and more.

And a group of 164 leading HIV/AIDS and health organizations today reiterated their strong support for oral PrEP as an important HIV prevention strategy for men and women at risk of HIV infection. The diverse group of advocates, researchers and service providers hailed new HIV PrEP guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a science-driven, public health approach to what remains a major health crisis in the United States.

View the document here.